Parks and Recreation Minutes – August 18, 2015


Minutes -Parks and Recreation Committee Meeting – Alden Community Center  08/18/2015
approved 9-15-2015

In attendance: Mike Crawford, Brad Gerlach, Jim Gurr, Jan Loveland, Ken Masck, and Dave Peterson,
Absent: Steve Dell and Ruth Smith

1) Community Input – Karen Mitchell and Robyn Miller came to the committee meeting to express their concerns over the proposed Alden Volunteers lighthouse. Karen Miller brought a letter from Mindy Morton, expressing concern with the light pollution problem that already exists, which the lighthouse might worsen. Committee members explained that the light would be no brighter than the existing light and that it would be a down light, less intrusive, and not oscillating or moving. Ken Masck also explained that as proposed, the project would not draw on public money, since it would be funded by donations.

The public comment session scheduled for September 15 will give residents an opportunity to talk to the Alden Volunteers directly.


Darlene Biehl from the Juniper Garden Club submitted a proposal to place two copper wind sculptures at the north end of the park, in the beds they have planted and maintained. The proposal was accepted unanimously with the provision that the club would select a sculpture and present the image of that choice with its final proposal to the township board.


2) Minutes from 07/21/2015 meeting approved as presented.


3) Township meeting 8/13/15

Dave Peterson said that post-storm cleanup was discussed. Mike Crawford said that the cleanup at Coy Mountain is ongoing, though the parking lot has been cleared.  Many trees were down along and across the trail. The tennis court renovation was also discussed at this meeting.




4) The recreational passport grant was followed up by Dave Peterson, who reported his receipt of an estimate from Gordon Fraser.   Since our funds are limited, there was general discussion about what other, less costly options we might have.
5) In the absence of a response from the Grand Traverse Band for the toddler playground equipment, we assume that the grant request has not been granted.
6) Permissions for the signal light (lighthouse) will need to be given, including a zoning variance and both electrical and construction permits from the Antrim County construction codes department. No DNR or DEQ permits will be required.
7) In order to publicize the September 15 public comment opportunity regarding the lighthouse proposal, Dave will put ads in the 9/3/15 and 9/10/15 Antrim Review.




Minutes -Parks and Recreation Committee Meeting – Alden Community Center  08/18/2015 Continued



8) The estimated cost of a site plan for the ball park is $30,000 to $40,000. One reason that we were trying to pursue this plan is because of noticeable beach erosion. However, other basics like benches are also needed.  Since those funds are not available, we should at least attempt to maintain the field. Some fine citizen stole home plate from the park. Mike also pointed out that the former concession stand has deteriorated and needs more than basic maintenance.


This led the committee to discuss the general problem of maintenance of all the parks. As Mike explained, there are smaller fixes that would help him in maintaining the parks. Maintenance should not be funded by our committee, but should come from the general fund of the township. It was concluded that small, relatively inexpensive items would be helpful, such as adding topsoil and reseeding in both the ballpark and Depot parks. Another maintenance item would be to refurbish the breakwater wall at the town dock.

In response, Mike Crawford offered to make a matrix of needs and costs to submit to the township board.

It was also suggested that we contact Heidi Shaffer regarding the ballpark beach.


9) We briefly discussed memorials and how to deal with requests for memorial items such as benches. The item was moved to a later meeting.


10) Dave is working on a fee schedule for the parks. Fees would be different/lower for Helena Township residents.  He will report. A contract and $1 million liability insurance for the day of the event will continue to be required. Other communities have found a way to do this. Another problem is the sharing of space when a large event is held.  There have been problems during the summer when boat trailers park and take space that may be needed for the event. The problem is hard to resolve because the public still is allowed to use the space no matter what event is taking place. When fees are charged this will still be the case and we may have to study the problem further.


11) Brad Gerlach brought up the revision of the five-year plan, which will have to be revised and re-submitted in 2017. This led to a general discussion of the one person-one park method discussing individual sites. We decided instead to tackle parks one at a time, with as many committee members making observations and recommendations. Depot Park will be discussed at our September meeting.


12) Since about 25 trees are down on Coy Mountain, Dave and Mike will ask Rick for special equipment to take care of the downed trees.


The meeting was adjourned at 5 pm.


The next monthly meeting is scheduled for:
Tuesday, September 15th, 2015 – 3pm at Helena Township Offices
Thanks to Jan Loveland for taking notes at the August meeting
respectfully submitted by Ruth Smith