BY MATT MACKINDER
Clarkston News Staff Writer
Independence Township applied for almost $5 million in state grants this year, but with strings attached.
In order to improve its chances of approval, the township purchased 2.07 acres on Parview Drive for $110,000.
The property, which will be used as a pedestrian entrance to the Bay Court Park nature trails off Parview Drive, was needed to compensate for a DPW pump station in the park, built in 2008 to supply water to the southern end of the township.
“Because of the (pump) location within the park, the DNR deems it a conversion from its intended purpose,” explained Derek Smith, director of the township Parks, Recreation and Seniors. “Because of the conversion, the township receives a 60-point deduction from any of its grant applications, so the township needed to purchase another piece of property with equal or greater ‘outdoor recreation value’ to mitigate the conversion.”
One grant application was a $200,000 matching grant, $400,000 total, to replace the play structure at Bay Court Park. The other was a $4.5 million land acquisition grant, $6 million total, for the purchase of 80 acres on Clarkston Road.
The list price of the Parview Drive property was $169,900. Bay Court Park was purchased with Michigan Natural Trust Fund Grant money in 1987.
“We have a great opportunity here,” Smith said. “With our capital improvement funds the parks department receives every year, we can double our money through Michigan National Trust Fund grants through not only the trust fund, but through the Land and Water Conservation Fund through the passport grant. Everyone’s familiar with the $11 you pay extra for your license plate that gets you in any state park for free. Those are all grant assistant programs that are available to us as local departments to double our money for development projects for acquisition.”