March 27, 2019-Special Meeting
Crystal Township Board Meeting
March 27, 2019
Crystal Community Center
The meeting was called to order by Supervisor McCracken at 7:00 p.m. and followed by the Pledge of Allegiance.
Members Present: C McCracken, G Bahm, Kim Siburt, P Baker-Marek
Absent: S Kutt
Public Comment: Public was allowed time to make comments.
K Siburt announced that the Principle Resident Exemption is still in effect, that the reports of it going away were false news on Facebook.
D Rydahl, can I comment on anything or does it need to be related to the Special Meeting?
MNRTF Grant Applications, Crystal Township Park Improvement, Phase II: PUBLIC HEARING
J White, Wolverine Engineering: Has been working with the township to prepare plans for the Park Improvement Project that ties directly to the 5 Year Plan. A little history, 20 yrs ago, we worked with the township on the Park Project Phase I, sidewalks, and parking lot. The township approached us a few months ago that they wanted to make some additional improvements and do some updating. The 5 year rec plan hadn’t been updated since 2011. So part of the process recently has been to get to the Rec Plan submitted and approved. Then submit an application to the MI Natural Resources Trust Fund for a Grant for the Park Improvements which you have seen the renderings. We were initially contacted by the township and worked on some preliminary designs. Engineers draw things typically in 2 damention which my associate D Fischer presented in December at Township Regular Meeting. There was an interest in the project but people wanted a better understanding of what the project would actually look like. The Board with the support of the DDA requested the drawings that you see here tonight. To put a more realistic perspective to the project. My understanding is that the project has been very well received by the community, there is a lot of support for this project and with that information in hand the township approached us again. With Franz working on the 5 year recreation plan and the application for the Trust Fund Dollars, we needed to know how much this project was going to cost. At the Townships last meeting they asked us to prepare a cost estimate. I believe all the board members have seen that estimate, it is somewhat of a shock to most that have seen it. I tried to be as conservative as possible when preparing an estimate because a lot of decisions are made on the price of the overall project. Is it something that is realistic, is it something that we can afford? If that number is artificially low and you go further down a path that you normally wouldn’t otherwise go if you didn’t know what the true costs were. We prepared the Engineers Opinion of Probable Cost, I would suggest that we were conservative with that number meaning that the information that we have today without the benefit of design plans, without the benefit of soil borings and things of that nature, we have taken our best guess at what we think this project will cost. Our best guess has some dollars built into it that maybe we don’t have to spend at the end of the day but if the township elects to move forward they are budgeting a number that is worst case scenario. I can’t guarantee that it’s not going to be more than that but with what we know today, without going any further I believe that it is a number that is a high end number for the project. We talked with manufacturers of some of the materials that we are looking to use and looked at the Michigan Department of Transportation average unit prices for past projects that have used like materials and have come up with a number that today is a realistic number I believe. As we get further into the project, we may find that the hill is made up of pure sand and we do not need to haul it in, and we can use it for backfill. Perhaps there are some other elements that we don’t necessarily need but we have as placeholders at this point. I don’t know if you want to go line item by line item or if you want to look at the big picture. I just wanted to bring everyone up to speed on how we got here and what these numbers represent and entertain any questions.
P McShosh: How much, what is a grant and what percentage would be covered by the grant? Is it a 80/20?
F Mogdis: Right now the estimate is a $694,000 project, $300,000 would be the grant, the matching funds which would be from a variety of sources which would equal 56%. In terms of a grant is positive because that can give you a lot of additional points in terms of possible getting the grant. I think one of the things to keep in mind is that this grant would be submitted, on Monday, April 1. That is just the first step that is not a commitment, it has been submitted but you are not indebted for that amount. There is a period in April that they will come back and ask for more information, and ask questions all summer as they go through these grants, they will be coming up here to make a sight visit to see what is being talked about, then in September you will get a number of how many points that you have compared to others that are also competing for Trust Fund Dollars, so you can figure out where your weaknesses are. There are things that you can do to improve your position, then in December the Trust Fund Board will make their recommendations for those to be funded. Those go into a bill that goes to the State House and Senate with an approval in March. It is not until that time there is an actual commitment. You have all of those steps and opportunities, if all of a sudden it looks like we aren’t really competitive, we can’t get all of the funds that we need at this time. We could withdraw at this round and resubmit the next round. The key is getting that 5-year plan approved, because that allows us for the next 5 years to go after Trust Fund and DNR dollars without having to worry about the Rec Plan. What this does is get us in the loop and gives us information in terms of how well we are doing, what they think our weaknesses are. What we are looking at in this second phase is the beach, the docks, the tiered picnic areas. That is what is being included in this first go around. To clarify no docks are included in this project.
C Johnston: Does that $700,000 include the bathroom facilities?
J White: No, it does not, it is just the terracing.
F Mogdis: At this time we are just pursuing the Trust Fund Grant, there are other Grants for other areas. There is a Passport Grant that is for facilities, we can go after that. There also US Department of Agriculture, Rural Development, they have some grants for facilities.
P McShosh: So how much is step 1? What is our cost up front, what is it going to cost us?
J White: I guess that depends on how far down the road you are going to go with design, that would depend, soil borings, preliminary designs and permitting, those are all components of moving forward. It depends on how far you want to go before you say let’s hold off.
P McShosh: How much is it costing us to have Mr. Mogdis write this grant? How much is it costing us out of pocket before the grant money.
G Bakker: I think her question is how much are you paying Franz to write the grant.
P Baker-Marek: We approved $2,000 for the 5-year Recreation Plan. $2,500 when the Grant was submitted and another $2,500 once it has been approved.
G Bakker: Do I understand correctly if the fundraising doesn’t go as well as you had hoped you still have the opportunity to withdraw the application, you are not committed to that project.
F Mogdis: that is absolutely true. You can withdraw your application any time before it is sent to the legislature. Stanton went through that, they had committed to a $750,000 that they didn’t realize that they had committed, we were able to get that taken off the table, and they had been approved for a $300,000 grant but they didn’t realize that they were also on the hook for the $750,000. We were able to get it off the table before it went to the legislature so they were fine and able to reapply. The one thing that you don’t want to do is default after the legislature votes and has decided here is your funding and then decide that we can’t cover it. That is why we need to go through this process for the next 6 to 9 months.
D Wight: So that is roughly a year from now?
F Mogdis: Yes, they make a decision at the Legislature to approve a grant in March.
P McShosh: So this $699 is just the tiering of the park?
J White: The Project cost is for the tiering of the park. The design, the permitting and the construction.
P McShosh: And that does not include a beach house or a dock.
J White: Correct
D Rydahl: How much is the township board looking at without fund raising, what is your allocation. Or are you looking totally at fund raising to be that match?
P Baker-Marek: The township is looking at match contribution of $100,000.
F Mogdis: And that is one of the next things over the next, once it’s submitted over the next 3-4 months to see what the fundraising opportunities in terms of additional funds to support this project.
D Wight: Is a copy of the proposal available? Just to look at the details of it sometime. As Joe said there may be items that can be worked on locally, location of sand if you need sand. There may be some local volunteerism/in kind services that we can use toward the match.
F Mogdis: By this week-end Patty will have the engineer numbers, but will also have the content of the Grant application so you can look at that as well. So everyone will be able to look at that, because you are absolutely right, part of it is the fund raising campaign for individuals, developers or businesses that are willing to support it.
G Bakker: Do you have any examples of possible ways that they can shave a little off this?
J White: When we put the Opinion of Cost together we did identify a handful of items based on discussion with the Township Board that might be items that could be funded with in-kind.
F Mogdis: For example, clearing of the beach area, that could possible in-kind. Sidewalk removal could be another, excavation of some of the area, beach sand those are some things that could be in-kind.
C McCracken: He has it broken down into two categories, the first is $567,000 and then the in-kind services are: $127,000.
D Wight: Maybe some ways to come up with volunteerism and local support to get that down to closer to the $500,000.
J White: If there are individuals in the community that have equipment, excavation and dump trucks and are willing to volunteer, there are significant savings there.
P McShosh: If we get it all complete, dock the whole thing how much?
J White: How big a dock? We did a dock project that I think would be appealing to Crystal Township and it had 150 feet of floating dock with a swim area, it was a u shape, it had a fishing platform off from one end and that dock cost $128,000. Is that what Crystal Township wants, do they want more, do they want less, do they want it floating, do they want it permanent. All those things play into the cost but that is an example. As for a restroom facility – Franz you might know better than I, but I would suggest $200,000 - $400,000 depending on how elaborate you wanted to be. Is that fair enough?
P McShosh: And that means another grant would need to be submitted?
J White: Yes
F Mogdis: There is more than one source, this just happens to be the one that is available now in terms of Trust Fund for this kind of development. There are others that would be more appropriate for facilities, US Department of Agriculture, Rural Development, Passport Grant from the DNR. We will be looking at those as well, but this one is the first step.
J White: This is the anchor that pulls all of those other elements together and makes it an overall attractive project. This should be done before there is money spent on some of those other items to be able to use the lake and have the beach. That will gain interest when people start to use, can get a feeling for what they would like to see next.
P McShosh: Based on these three renderings where would you suggest a place for runners and walkers? That was one of the big items that people wanted, based on these where would that area be?
J White: I don’t know if this element answers that question, it is a different use. That is something that I would not have any background on. This has not been a topic of our discussions at this point.
D Rydahl: I have a question, when it comes to the funding-if it’s not where we want it to be, is this project then scaled, can it be sectioned and phased as these other funding opportunities become available or you apply to them and receive additional funding? Is it scalable?
J White: It is scalable to some degree, however because of the steepness of the slope and trying to cut it down a lot of the work has to be done upfront. Could we take a tier or two out and save until a later date, probably but understand you would end up paying for something twice. You would restore the grass and then would come back in and tear it up again, then start over again. With the overall project there is economy of scale that you don’t duplicate efforts by phasing some of that in. It could be but would end up being more expensive in the end.
P McShosh: Is parking in this phase?
J White: No
F Mogdis: Parking is one of the additional items that could be gone after with some of the other grants sources. Then part of the total development of the project over a period of time, this is only the first phase, only the first step then you continue to add to that development. The other thing to keep in mind, this is a township park but it really is a regional park. There is not a park like this or potential for a park like this within a 50 mile radius. What will be here once its completed and what it can do in terms of attracting people to Crystal Lake and the area. Utilization is going to be a positive to the businesses. There is no 700 acre lake in the area and also nowhere has the potential for development like this, as a regional park. It is in the township but it is much bigger and much broader than that. As far as the recreation plan, there are 6 items and one of them is the development of the walking/ biking path that are needed. Not necessarily as part of this project, but as a future opportunity in terms of development.
Special Meeting Scheduled for Monday, April 1 at 10 am to allow time for additional public comment. The meeting Monday will review the Resolution and determine if the board is going to approve the Grant Application prior to submission
Public Hearing Closed.
Bank-RFP: The RFP’s were returned from Independent, Sidney, Chemical, Commercial, Isabella and Merchantile. K Siburt reviewed the RFP’s and presented a listing of services and costs associated with each bank. G Bahm asked that a full analysis of fees and cost for all accounts, including the Sewer Department be provided by next board meeting. There was much discussion of the need for a brick and mortar bank in town.
South Shore Pier:
Motion by Baker-Marek, supported by G Bahm to pay the $300 application fee to the DNR to have S Pier transferred into Crystal Township ownership. Motion carried; ayes-all.
P Baker-Marek: 4/17/19 – at 7 pm Crystal Community Center Forum to allow for public opinions of what to do with the Community Center.
P McShosh: A survey was done of what to do in the Park and the top 5 items, the top of the list was not that we want a new park. We wanted this this this and this, if you do the top five they are not in there. Has the memorial ever been addressed? What I’m saying is the first choice was not a new park it was Walking/Running Path, Camping. Take a look at the top 5. Would like to see designation from the survey, if parking is not involved it seems to me there was only one place. It seems to me for this Phase we should address more of those first five from the survey.
G Bakker: Always tons of decisions needed for this project, it may be in the best interest to develop a Parks and Recreation Advisory Committee, this would be beneficial for this project to sort out the details. A lot of work to do even if you have consultants. The Parks & Rec Committee disband years ago. The number 1 priority of the survey was a walking/biking path around the lake, but number 2 3 and 4 were swimming, beach, park. In terms of parking, if Franz where here I think he would tell you it is harder to get Grant money for things like parking lots. As far as the bike path around the lake the board could meet with the road commission, look at the surveys, where are your easements, where can there be paths. Previously J Stone worked to develop the shoulder along Sidney Road, it will never go all the way around but that was a nice start. There may be other areas where you can fit in a wider shoulder.
C McCracken: if you are interested in participating let Patty know.
D Wight: years ago a resolution was passed by the board to have a member of the DDA on any Park and Rec Board.
D Rydahl: good idea to get community involvement.
G Bahm: Montcalm County Conservation District tree sale through the 29th, nice trees.
Motion by Baker-Marek, supported by Bahm to adjourn at 8:15. Motion carried, ayes-all.
Minutes Certified: Patty Baker-Marek, Clerk.