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05-30-2019 With final approvals given, Riverside park and kayak launch ready to go, Hagar Supervisor

MEMORIAL DAY TRIBUTE… The haunting tones of Taps from the Hartford Indian Emerald Vanguard Alumni Nick McGlothlin honors the fallen at Ely Park during observances hosted by Hartford American Legion Post# 533. (TCR Photo by Jon Bisnett)

With final approvals given, Riverside park and kayak launch ready to go, Hagar Supervisor says

After almost three years of a comprehensive process, Hagar Township Supervisor Izzy DiMaggio has announced that the project to develop a park and kayak launch on the Paw Paw River has just received final approvals and now can proceed to construction. The project, located in Hagar Township in Berrien County, will involve two levels. The upper level will include a picnic pavilion, picnic tables, cooking grills, vault restrooms, asphalt paved ingress and egress off Coloma Road with lockable gates, paved parking, overhead lighting and all amenities ADA compliant. The lower level will feature an asphalt paved driveway, with a lockable gate at the top, which will lead down to a driveway loop. There will be parking, installation of an 85-foot elevated boardwalk over the wetland leading to floating dock and floating kayak launch on the Paw Paw River, with overhead security lighting. The paved roadway, parking, and kayak dock and launch are all ADA compliant. The site, a former landfill off Coloma Road, just east of exit 4 I-196 had been designated as a conservation district, owned by Hagar Township. It is comprised of 112 acres with approximately seven acres used for this project. This kayak launch will be a destination for paddlers from the Watervliet-Coloma area and should provide an increase in tourism and revenue for the area Hagar Township merchants. The project should be completed by early fall. The project started in June of 2016 with the Riverside Downtown Development Authority (DDA) requesting proposals from local engineering consultants. Abonmarche Consultants of Benton Harbor was the low bid and was awarded the contract to apply for grants from the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, and if successful, administer the project. A $300,000 grant, the largest amount possible for a development project and the largest ever awarded to Hagar Township, was approved by the DNR. Total project costs, including construction, permitting approvals, site plans, inspections, and financial management will be approximately $500,000. The balance of the costs will be provided by the Riverside DDA. No Township General Funds will be used for the development and completion of this project. Over 20 local governments, private businesses, community leaders and elected officials provided Resolutions of Support which positively enhanced the scoring, and approval of the Grant Application.

Supervisor DiMaggio wishes to express his sincere appreciation to the Hagar Township Board for Resolutions of Support to apply for the grant and approve the bid for the project; the Hagar Township Planning Commission for a Special Use Permit; to Abonmarche Consultants that prepared the applications and received the permit approvals from the DNR, DEQ, and Drain Office; and to the Board of the Riverside DDA to initiate the project and provide the local match. Without the DDA, the project would never have proceeded to start construction.

WATERVLIET PARADE… Water-vliet Police Chief Tim Sutherland leads the Memorial Day Parade in-cluding many local Veterans on Monday. (TCR photo by Annette Christie)

DRILL TEAM… Lawrence American Legion Hess-Eastman Post 174 Honor Guard performed the salute to Veterans during Memorial Day observances at Keeler Cemetery. The premier team from Post 174 is always in high demand for area Veteran observanc-es. (TCR photo by Jon Bisnett)

Watervliet Commission takes first steps to prohibit recreational marijuana establishments in City

City Commission open to changes in the future

At a Special Meeting on May 20, the Watervliet City Commission took the first steps in disallowing recreational marijuana establishments within city limits. The introduction of Appendix A, Article IV, Sec. 4.12 Prohibition of Marihuana Establishments was approved by a 4-0 vote and is set to be finally passed by the City Commission at their June 4 regular meeting.

After discussing the matter with City Attorney Jessica Fette, at their April 23 meeting, the Commission requested that City Manager Tyler Dotson ask Fette to create an ordinance prohibiting recreational marijuana establishments within city limits. Before the vote, Commissioner Luke Strunk expressed that, “I’m open to this idea [of allowing recreational related businesses in the future] however, this ordinance can be amended in the future to allow various types of related businesses and something the City should most certainly look into in the future once the dust settles on this new law.”

Both Dotson and Fette agreed that the new state law has more questions than answers at this time, but there is hope that once the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA) finalizes the rules and regulations for recreational marijuana, and other state agencies formally adopt additional rules, that the city will look into potentially amending the ordinance at a later date.

Dotson stated that he believes the City Commission “acted in the best interest of the community based on the information we have at present.” He also added that “he appreciated the City Commission’s desire to move forward in collecting more information and further researching what an opt-in ordinance may look like in the future.”

The city will look to finally pass the ordinance at their June 4 meeting which, as of now, would make the ordinance effective on June 24 as realized in the City Charter for ordinance enactment. The city charter requires a “delayed in passing” for new ordinances, and thus no ordinance can be formally passed on the date it is introduced.

Prior to the meeting the City Commission will hold a public forum on the matter starting at 6:00 p.m. with their regular meeting to follow at 6:30 p.m.

ADDRESSING THE CROWD… Wa-tervliet City Manager Tyler Dotson provided the address during the Me-morial Day ceremony held at the Watervliet cemetery on Monday. Dotson spoke of the history of the holiday and its true meaning. He challenged attendees to start a tradition with family and friends later on that day to understand and discuss what the day really means. He thanked those that serve and stated that they are not forgotten. Others guests during the program were the Miss Watervliet Court lead-ing the Pledge of Allegiance and Lauren Lovell singing the National Anthem. (TCR photo by Annette Christie)

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