IRON RIVER TWP.—With numerous projects in the works and the township hall’s Americans With Disabilities Act compliance looming, the Iron River Township Board has passed on the opportunity to resubmit recreational grant applications.
At its March meeting, the Iron River Township board discussed the possibility of resubmitting last year’s applications for Michigan Department of Natural Resources Trust Fund and Passport Grants, which would have covered $300,000 of an approximately $400,000 project.
Plans for the Playground Road recreation project included a soccer field, Little League ball field, new playground equipment, a concessions building, restrooms and a covered picnic area.
Though there would not have been a charge from Gei Consultants to resubmit the previous application, the township would have to come up with 25 percent in matching funds for the project, which would likely need to be completed within the next two years.
GEI advised the township not to apply for the grant if it possibly may not be able to come up with matching funds or may need to turn it down for any other reason.
A second option, submitting a scaled down project, was also turned down, partially due to the lack of time to prepare the application before the April 1 deadline. A $3,000 application fee was also part of the reason.
The reduced project discussed by the township parks and recreation committee would have included the soccer and baseball fields, with cost estimates at $65,000. Matching funds of $16,000 would have been required, some of which could be done through in-kind labor or donations.
Despite resident Nancy Clements’ reminder that last year’s timber sale profits were earmarked for recreational purposes, the board did not feel it was the appropriate time to take on the project.
Supervisor Scott Tarsi told the audience, “We are not prepared for a big project.” He reiterated the tasks at hand, including the ongoing water line replacement project, the possibility of a sewer system upgrade and the required updates to the township hall.
The board discussed a GEI study that reviewed the township’s options and the best route to get the township hall compliant with ADA requirements.
Four options were researched. The first called for work on the upstairs of the hall, basically closing down the basement. The second was to make both the upstairs and downstairs barrier-free and accessible to all. The addition of necessary structural work, not related to ADA regulations, was combined with option two for a third alternative. The final alternative was to build a new township hall, which would be a small, basic building with only necessary office and meeting space.