Park Committee advises on gate, grass and barn

PAT FRIDGEN
Lynda Beckwith, township employee, and Antrim Township Park Committee members Jon Snavely and Don Daley review a sketch of Antrim Township Community Park. On the screen is an old barn in the center of the new recreation area. The committee is assigned the responsibility of making recommendations to the Board of Supervisors.

The Antrim Township Park Committee, with advisory duties to the Board of Supervisors, met Oct. 21 and came up with advice. Nate Bacon, Jon Snavely and  Don Daley were present to discuss and create plans of action for Antrim Township Community Park, Martin's Mill Bridge Park, and Enoch Brown Park. Cheryl Shields, non-voting liaison for Waste Management, and supervisor Rick Baer were also present. Committee members Pat Heraty and Dirk Mowen were absent.

Finishing touches to ATCP included gates for the entrance and exit. A cattle gate is now at the front and the committee thought it was fine. Bacon wanted the opposite gate to be economical, as other needs for the park were more pressing.

"The objective is to keep traffic out at a minimum cost," stated Shields.

They decided to recommend a steel swinging arm gate at the exit.

The supervisors had talked about the park at their Oct. 20 worksession. Maintenance superintendent Paul Minich told them members of the public had complained about the "ugly barn in a $3 million park." He had also loved Baer's suggestion to use the bottom as a storage shed for the maintenance department.

The park committee had ideas for the barn. They agreed it was not particularly attractive but the siding was stable and therefore a paint job was in order. Bacon wanted an expert to analyze the structure's best use for the future. Possible ideas were office space and a learning center. He did not support storage for road equipment, because he had seen such use eliminate buildings from consideration for public activities. Regulatory agencies took that stand if chemicals were kept or used in the space. He also didn't want authentic features such as 24-inch wide boards in the lower level corncrib damaged or removed.

Until the barn's purpose was determined, the committee recommended its foundation be stabilized for a starting point.

Bacon also suggested park mowing be contracted out. He noted his own road had not been mowed by Antrim until the fall, so he wondered if the staff had time to mow park land that had quadrupled in size this year. Shields said the township had always contracted out mowing until 2009.

"This is where a new staff member comes in," said Snavely.

"You don't understand," said Baer. "It we pay a fulltime employee $10 an hour, benefits are equal to $9 an hour. It's a major expense."

Placement of the fencing also was scrutinized. Baer defended the amount of fence, termed by one member as "overkill", by saying without it, people would be parking all over the place. Though one direct route across an inside park road seemed to be blocked by fence, Shields and others hoped people would walk at a marked spot, and if they didn't, later a piece of the wooden fence could be removed.

Baer informed them that heaters and flooring were in at the ATCP restrooms. The materials and labor for the floors were donated but no one knew by whom.

As far as Martin's Mill Bridge was concerned, the committee asked that security be installed. It had asked for that before but it has not been authorized by the supervisors. They wanted it included in the 2010 budget.