Crews have been making steady progress on the North Grand River Riverfront Park. Once completed, the park – which is located in Lowell Township just south of the Walgreens on Main Street – will have trails, pickleball courts and a bridge connecting it to a sister park on the south side of the Grand River.
It will also have something else: a replica fur trader’s cabin. The building will be used for educational programming provided primarily through the Lowell Area Historical Museum. It’s an addition that’s been made possible thanks to the support of area resident Betty Yeiter.
On Monday, the Lowell Township Board recognized Yeiter’s generous financial gift to the community with a special plaque presented at their March meeting.
Love of Learning Spurs Gift
“Betty has a real love for kids and for learning,” Jerry Hale, Lowell Township Supervisor, said prior to the meeting. He describes the long-time resident as vibrant and outgoing. At 90-some years young, Yeiter had a career in education and has continued to support local schools since her retirement.
In presenting the plaque during the Monday meeting, Hale told Yeiter, “You’ve done a lot of things to further education in this community.”
The cabin will be one more avenue to encourage learning. “We’ll have programming there for children and adults,” said Lisa Plank, executive director of the Lowell Area Historical Museum, who was on-hand for the presentation.
Hale presented a plaque to Yeiter and noted a similar one would be placed on the cabin once it was completed. The plaque recognizes both Yeiter and her late husband Don for their generous support.
“Education is more than just a school building. Education is life.” Yeiter said. She added she would rather support community efforts such as this than buy other things. “I could have could gone out and bought some new clothes but why?” she laughed. “I like this better.”
Other Township Board Action
During its hour-long meeting, the township board ran through a number of other agenda items in addition to presenting the plaque to Yeiter.
The board unanimously approved a Consumer Energy franchise ordinance and the preliminary plat for Phase 2 of the Stoney Bluff development off Foreman Road. They also welcomed a new Deputy Clerk, Angie Wilcox, and ok’d a change to the Lowell Area Trailway agreement.
That change stipulated that should the Lowell Area Recreation Authority (LARA) ever abandon the trail, property would revert to the municipality. Previously, the agreement said property would revert to the adjoining property owner, but the Michigan Department of Natural Resources Trust Fund needs the new language for projects it funds.
Board Trustee Steve Vander Ziel questioned the cost of maintaining the trail if LARA were ever to step away from the project. “I’m always leery of creating a monster that we have to keep feeding,” he said.
“Right now, each municipality pays $2,000 a year and that’s been enough to pay for it,” Hale replied. He added that LARA gets most of its funding from outside sources, and the Meijer Trail Network could also be expected to contribute some money to the upkeep if and when the Lowell Area Trailway connects to the Fred Meijer River Valley Rail Trail.
After discussion, the board approved the change unanimously.
The Lowell Township Board also approved a proposal for backflow testing. Required every five years, the testing must be done by anyone using township water who has an irrigation system or pool. Residents pay for the test and are free to use their own testing provider. However, the township board approved a contract with Affordable Plumbing Services at a price of $48 per property which may be less than the price a single individual could negotiate.
Finally, the board discussed if and how to provide emergency access to the new Impact Church property through the North Grand River Riverfront Park. The church’s property will have it main access point on Main Street which has raised the question of whether a secondary access point should be designated for emergency vehicles in case the main entrance is blocked. Board members agreed to consider the matter and discuss it further at their next meeting.
The Lowell Township Board will meet next on April 16, 2018 at 7pm in the township hall.