04-05-2018 Public voice concern over public lake access space to Keeler Township Board; Sportsmen’s

COLD RAIN AND BLUSTERY WINDS didn’t keep everybody away for the annual Easter Egg hunts in Coloma and Watervliet last Saturday. Pictured are hunters of 4,000 eggs scattered by the Coloma Lions Club at the FOP ballfields. A similar crowd was at Hays Park looking for eggs hidden in plain sight by the Watervliet Lions Club volunteers. Watervliet organizers delivered uncollected prizes to the Freshwater Church egg hunt following services on Sunday. (TCR photo by Lynn Attila)

Public voice concern over public lake access space to Keeler Township Board

By Annette Christie Members of the public were in attendance at the April 3 Keeler Township meeting to question the board about what they are going to do about residents trying to assume public space for their own. The topic first came up at last month’s meeting when Supervisor Bill Kays apprised the board of a situation that had occurred recently in the Woodland Park subdivision. A portion of one of the streets in the sub-division is supposed to for public use; however, it appeared that one of the residents was attempting to make it theirs exclusively. The access provides for the public to use the lake. Kays, with approval by the board to obtain legal assistance as needed, has been keeping close tabs on the situation. The latest movement on the public access site appeared that someone had the property surveyed as there were new markers located in the area. Kays said the township has all the historical data on hand to restrict someone from preventing the public to use the access, including court records. “We are watching it close,” Kays said. Kays said that the stakes from a previous survey done by the township have been removed. One of the members of the public said he didn’t understand why the board doesn’t have an ordinance or something in place that would prevent this situation, which seems to occur every number of years. Kays said an ordinance is not necessary because the township already has all the justification it needs to maintain it as a public access site. He commented that the township has been to court on at least a dozen of these public access sites township wide. “When it is violated we act accordingly,” Kays said, adding, “In every case we have reserved the right for the public to use that space.” Representatives from Wolverine Pipe Line Company were on hand to inform the public about their pipeline which goes through Keeler Township. The company started in 1952 and employs 70 employees. In 2015 the company had zero accidents and was named the safest pipeline for their size in Southwest Michigan. They have 700 miles of active steel pipeline carrying gasoline and diesel, and 40% of Michigan gets its gasoline from their company. The 8-inch pipeline that makes its home in Keeler Township moves north and south. With safety being a top priority, they have a one call program that is manned 24/7. They encourage residents to call 811 before they dig; a free service where they work with whoever is doing work to make sure that the pipeline doesn’t get hit. An ongoing problem with flooding on Territorial Road is being addressed at the County level. Rick Boze with the Van Buren County Road Commission told the Keeler Township Board he suspects that talks with the Van Buren County Drain Commissioner could be the remedy to the situation. The problem appears to be no ditching on either side of the road that is surrounded by farmland that does not drain. This road was one of those affected by the recent flooding that occurred statewide. The Planning Commission continues to work on an ordinance for the township that will address solar panels. In addition, they are working on updating the sign ordinance to comply with federal regulations. Kays said that he drove all the roads in the township with county road officials and said that he wanted to schedule a special board meeting to decide which road projects that the township would undertake in the upcoming road construction season. The meeting was set for April 19 at 5:30 p.m. Kays announced that the Sister Lakes Area Utilities Authority received a grant in excess of $300,000 that will pay for engineering services and the task of going through all pipes to camera the entire pipeline, GPS all manholes and connections, identify cracks, and to look at manholes and pumps. He said the township was lucky to get such a grant that will get their system in order.

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BACK IN BUSINESS… Jennifer Moore, owner of Back on the Rack Upscale Resale, Consignment, & Tuxedo Rental, puts the final touches on the formalwear section in the store’s new location. A Grand Re-Opening will take place Friday, April 6