Parks & Rec Minutes
May 5, 2021
Meeting called to order by Jan Loveland at 7:02PM. Committee members present were Jan Loveland, Jim Gurr, Barry Snyder, Bonnie Robbins. Absent were Steve Dell and Ruth Smith. Butch Peeples, township supervisor was also present.
No minutes were available for approval.
Robbins and Gurr shared the April meeting report presented to the township board at their April meeting. The board was informed that a group meeting was planned for May to determine any additional needs of maintenance at the Depot Park and discuss the roles of various non-profits and entities who help maintain the park. Also shared was the continuing work on playground equipment for the Tennis Court Park.
Loveland asked that everyone introduce themselves and briefly explain what they hope to achieve at this meeting.
Groups represented were Helena Township Historical Society (HTHS), Alden Volunteers (AV), Juniper Garden Club (JGC), and Alden Men’s Club (AMC).
- Laury Stone represented Alden Volunteers and started the discussion with an outline of what AV has done over the years to help improve the park. She discussed the website and missing or incorrect links listed on the site. Loveland asked about help with links and updates.
- Dave Harrison has been in charge of activating the sprinkler system that was installed by Alden Volunteers. He discussed issues that may need to be addressed with the aging system.
- Paul Delange, Depot Museum curator and representative for the HTHS discussed the arrangement between the township and HTHS for operation of the Depot. He agrees it is time for a more formal agreement so needs can be addressed. He feels the township needs to step up with more maintenance of the grounds and pay for some of the maintenance currently being paid by HTHS and other organizations.
- Bonnie Robbins addressed the lack of formal agreement between HTHS and the township to define who is responsible for various concerns. Robbins feels township should be responsible for maintenance of public owned parks and lack of a formal Memorandum of Understanding has caused most of these misunderstanding on who is responsible.
- Butch Peeples explained there are three companies contracted for what was formally handled by a township employee. We contract garbage pickup, cleaning of the Community Center and Tennis Court restrooms, and mowing of all township parks.
- Jan Loveland expressed her frustration with the garbage overflow and people driving on the lawn because of the broken fence.
- Robbins stated the fence company has been notified and fencing ordered but due to Covid there is a backorder of the needed materials. David Peterson continues to work with them to get these fences repaired.
- Peeples reminded the group we were here to discuss what can be done moving forward and addressing what is needed at the park.
- Robin Fortino represented the Juniper Garden Club and discussed what they would like to do in the future with the gardens at the park. She stated the volunteer base for most of the groups represented are aging and it is becoming difficult to handle the work with volunteers. They are currently working to do the spring cleanup of the flower beds.
- Discussion of building a permanent bathroom on the grounds. It was determined there should be room by the storage building to place a bathroom in that area so lake views would not be impacted.
- Additional discussion about future plans for landscaping, maintenance, township responsibilities, and improvements were randomly offered by those present.
Consensus that a formal agreement needs to be created. Robbins will research what was in the grant application about rentals and any other restrictions that may be listed. Delange would like to research more history on buildings in the township.
Peeples shared there will be a service at the Veteran’s Memorial at 1 PM Memorial Day but no parade.
Robbins shared there is a community clean up offered on June 19th from 8AM to noon at the Depot Park parking lot.
Gurr shared his appreciation for all who help keep the park looking nice and their work to promote our township.
Agenda item 10 was moved to June. Loveland discussed her plan to pull park descriptions from the 5 year plan and work with Robbins to update website so those wanting to visit Helena Township can see what is available.
Loveland and Smith continue to work on the toddler playground costs.
Peeples shared that the Johnson purchase is complete and we can now start looking at improving parking for Coy Mountain.
Robbins suggested getting a new sign to replace the faded Coy Mountain sign on SE Torch Lake Drive south of the lumber yard.