03-30-2017 Coloma Township seeking $400,000 parks grant for former Washington School Site; Hartford

Coloma Township seeking $400,000 parks grant for former Washington School Site; will match it with  $100,000 of own funds

By Annette Christie

The Coloma Township Board is taking another shot at a parks grant to make improvements at Coloma Township Park by the site of the demolished Washington School.  The township is seeking a grant in the amount of $400,000 and if received, they will be prepared to add the 25% match of $100,000.

Rob Pirsein of Midwest Civil Engineers said that the plan being submitted to the Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund Grant shows the following improvements: Upgrade baseball fields, bleachers, dugouts, and field work; add new asphalt parking areas with gravel bicycle and walking paths that will tie into the Paw Paw Lake Trail, two new pickleball courts, new restroom and covered pavilion facility, new playground equipment, a new basketball court and picnic tables; spruce up the landscaping; and create an environment that is ADA accessible.

The ultimate plan is that the walking and bike trail will have an extension down Becht Road to an existing trail on Paw Paw Lake Road.

Pirsein has been working with a grant coordinator at the state level and hopes that they will be able to score better on this year’s grant application.  Last year the township scored 220, ultimately increasing it by another 80 with the three-week intervention period.  That was still not enough to receive grant funds.  Pirsein said if they could get their points up to about 400, they stand a good chance of winning the grant.

With the public hearing that was held March 22, the township board then passed a resolution supporting the grant application.  Pirsein said the deadline for the application is April 1.  He reminded the board that once the state receives the grant application, they do come out, look at the proposed project and allow a three-week intervention time to add to the grant application, with the ultimate goal of boosting the application score.

The final determination on the grant would be expected in the fall of 2017 with the funds being awarded in the spring of 2018.

Hartford Foundation annual auction breaks all records; new scholasrship announced

By Jon Bisnett

FORMIDABLE FUNDRAISERS… The Hartford Public Schools Foundation for Quality Education Board is all smiles following the stellar success of the 15th Annual Dinner Auction event, raising well over $50,000 to the betterment of Hartford Public Schools. Pictured (from the left): Trustee Mark Kellogg, Immediate Past President Garry Unrath, VP Jon Bisnett, Trustee Judy Loomis, President Scott Smith, Secretary Nicole Mea-chum, Trustee Marshall Pomeroy, Trustee Becky Traver, Trustee Doug Williams, Treasurer RoxAnn Isbrecht and VP Mike Woodward. Not pictured Board Representative Kurt Kuehnle and Administration Representative Superintendent Andy Hubbard.


The Hartford Foundation for Quality Education held its 15th Annual Dinner Auction Gala Saturday, March 25 at VFW Post 6248, hosting yet another record crowd while totally shattering all prior fundraising records, raising well in excess of $50,000 for the evening.

“I am absolutely thrilled at the turnout that we had tonight,” beamed Foundation President Scott Smith. During introductions Smith announced an additional scholarship opportunity funded by Foundation Life-Member Bonna Vanderlyn. The Art & Bonna Vanderlyn Scholarship will award in perpetuity annually to a Hartford High School graduate thanks to a $300,000 initial contribution administrated by the Berrien County Foundation. Vanderlyn’s Hartford Harding’s Market reaffirmed its commitment to the Hartford Foundation as a Diamond Annual Sponsor recognized as contributions of $4,000 and up.

New alliance

Standing along with Harding’s is a new partner to further