Crystal Falls Township Supervisor Tom Lesandrini (far right), and the Board of Trustees hosted an open house at Gibson Lake Park and campground Aug. 14, showcasing the completion of a $250,000 renovation and upgrade, accomplished through a DNR Trust Fund grant, matched with in-kind work and local contributions.
CRYSTAL FALLS TOWNSHIP—The Crystal Falls Township Board of Trustees held its Aug. 14 meeting at Gibson Lake Park, hosting an open house for the newly renovated park and campground.
The park had been donated to the county, which, said Township Supervisor Tom Lesandrini, “didn’t do much with it.”
“The township talked the county into donating it to us,” he said.
The pavilion and changing house were built by the Civilian Conservation Corps.
“There were two privies,” Lesandrini said. “And the log changing house had snakes.
The playground equipment contained a lot of metal construction, which was also outdated and dangerous.
“We joked that you needed a tetanus shot to play on it,” he said.
Several years ago, township officials met with engineers from GEI Consultants and put a project together that would be eligible for DNR Trust Fund grant money. A $212,000 grant was received, with the township matching $40,000 in money and in-kind services.
The grant funded the construction of a new changing house/restroom facility, pavilion and playground and enabled the construction of four campsites.
“We tried to save the old pavilion,” Lesandrini said, but it was too deteriorated.
“Some of the planks from the floor were taken by residents and former residents who used the park in the old days,” he said.
The project was completed last fall, and the campground was usable this season. Additionally, the township traded gravel for an unused swimming raft from Crystal Falls city.
“The township employees and the public have been great,” he said, in helping with the project.
“It’s a small jewel in the township.”
in other business:
--The board learned that there is opposition to a project proposed by township resident Walter Tuchowski to dredge the channel between First and Second Fortune lakes. Wilma Kallies, owner of the Crystal Waters Resort on the Fortune chain, said there is opposition to Tuchowski’s proposal from lake property owners. Thirty-six property owners signed a petition opposing the project.
“I have a problem with him (Tuchowski) having his guests sign a petition. They don’t own property on the lake.”
She said as she understood the proposal, the channel would be dredged two feet, and there is the possibility the current would slow.
“We don’t have a milfoil problem because the lakes are cold, deep and fast,” she said.
Lesandrini said the township doesn’t own the bridge, the land or the water, so “we don’t have the means to do anything, as a township.
“We’re not taking a position on it. The state won’t touch it, either.”
--In his report, Crystal Falls Fire Chief Ray Niemi noted the department responded to four fire calls in July. Three were fire calls, the fourth an accident, where the Jaws of Life were used. He has applied for three grants, through Enbridge and FEMA. He commended the department in coming in fifth place, overall, in the recent U.P. Firefighter’s Tournament held in Ironwood.
--The board approved signing a resolution for the county’s solid waste plan.
--Lesandrini reported of the 1,270 registered voters in the township, 508 ballots were cast in the Aug. 7 primary election.
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