The Oct.16th meeting of the Marshview connector parking lot project subcommittee was cordial, cooperative and productive. In attendance were:
- Board of Trustees – Terry Gonser and Maureen Thalmann
- Parks Commission – David Mackley, Joe Peruzzi, Andy Zale
- Parks Department – Mindy Milos-Dale
- Paint Creek Trail Commission – David Becker, Kritstin Meyers
- Oakland Township Safety Paths and Trails Committee – none
The purpose of this subcommittee is to move forward on the plan for a parking lot on two parcels on Orion Road, adjacent to the Paint Creek Trail that are owned by Parks. The subcommittee was formed because there has been a lot of controversy about this project due to:
- The project was launched independently by Supervisor Gonser;
- without Board of Trustees authorization;
- without Parks Commission authorization;
- the assumption that it would be funded with Trails Millage money;
- after objections raised at a Planning Commission meeting about funding it with our trails millage Gonser began splitting the expenses between general funds, parks funds and trails funds;
- Parks has objected to the use of their funds without their authorization.
After reviewing the first site plan that Gonser had ordered, the committee agreed that a new concept plan is needed that at least studies a number of things that weren’t considered by the current plan. The committee authorized new work to reflect the feasibility of:
- Equestrian use, most importantly room for large horse trailers to park and turn around and maybe even hitching rails;
- Possible picnic tables;
- Possible playscape;
- Possible nature trail loop;
- Consideration of using the northern parcel for some or all of the project;
- A safer trail down to the Paint Creek Trail.
The bottom line is most of the work Gonser had authorized was a waste of time and money and needs to be re-done. We did, at least, get a topographical survey of the southern parcel that will be useful.
Gonser then spoke to the meeting about an alternative plan sketched by an engineering firm who agreed to do it without payment. He said that he couldn’t share the plan with the committee at this time because he had not paid for it. Gonser said this new plan could be done for $25k rather than the $100k that township’s engineering firm, PEA, had estimated.
- Mindy replied saying she has done other parking lots of similar size where the gravel alone cost $20k so she thought Gonser’s firm should take another look at it. Gonser said he could get the gravel for free.
- The Committee agreed that Supervisor Gonser could contact his unnamed firm and ask them to submit a formal proposal.
The point to be made here is that Supervisor Gonser, although he was amiable and agreeable, continued to attempt to dominate the process by getting ahead of everyone and going his own way.