Dexter Forum: A Bridge, Marijuana and Pedestrian Crossings

The crossing at Kensington and Ann Arbor streets, seen here Tuesday, was part of some of the discussion at the Dec. 15 Dexter Forum. photo by Lonnie Huhman

By Lonnie Huhman,

The range of topics at the Dexter Forum is never limited.

For its last meeting of 2018, the forum’s discussion ranged from the old Bell Road bridge to the commercialization of marijuana legalization and pedestrian crossings.

These were just a few of the topics.

The topic of the Bell Road bridge was brought up by a first-timer to the forum, a Dexter woman who lives near the old bridge. She asked, what’s going to happen to the bridge, after 25 years of resting along the side of the Huron River, now that it has been taken away?

For years, the bridge was used as a crossing over the Huron River to connect Dexter-Pinckney Road with Huron River Drive. It had been out of commission and off its foundations for some time before this recent development.

To answer some of the questions was Doug Fuller, who is the chairman on the Washtenaw County Board of Road Commissioners. Fuller said the bridge,which he said was originally put in around 1894, has been put in storage for future use. He said it will most likely be used as a pedestrian crossing somewhere in the Washtenaw County park system.

Fuller said he doesn’t expect another bridge to take its place.

With the recent voter-approved legalization of recreational marijuana, Webster Township Board Trustee John Scharf said the township is interested in getting community input, specifically as it pertains to the township allowing or not allowing commercial marijuana facilities.

Scharf said all three of the township’s precincts voted in favor of legalization. He said the township wants to know what the community thinks before making any decisions, so they are asking people to call the township, attend a board meeting or go to its website.

Webster Township hall can be reached at 734-426-5103.

Dexter city council member Paul Cousins, who was also at the forum, said the city would soon be looking at a resolution to prohibit commercial marijuana facilities within city limits.

The discussion on marijuana ended with some open-ended questions as to how this development will look going forward.

The issue of pedestrian crossings has become a hot one in Dexter.

Forum co-moderator John Hansen said the topic was brought forward by We Love Dexter reporter Doug Marrin, who is seeking input about pedestrian safety in Dexter, “particularly as it relates to the new roundabouts and kids crossing our busy main streets.”

To offer some input was Dexter school board member Julie Schumaker. She said the school district is hearing many concerns from parents with the most recent issues being the district’s handling and communication of the decision to discontinue next month its bus transport of children between Morning Star Child Care and Wylie Elementary School. Over 50 families are being impacted by this development.

The district said what led to this difficult decision is a shortage of bus drivers. The district said it has 33 bus routes, but not enough drivers. It has been combining routes and,in some cases, having the transportation director and mechanic drive filling as drivers when needed.

The district said the Morning Star route was eliminated, at this time, because it is a 10-minute, half-mile route that was taking away from necessary routes further out.

A solution, beginning next month, will have the students being escorted up the sidewalk by adults from Wylie to Morning Star. This would have them crossing busy Ann Arbor Street,which has many of the Morning Star families involved concerned for the safety of their kids.

In closing the forum, Hansen said the meeting was the last for 2018 and they look forward to many more discussions in the New Year.

The forum takes place at the Dexter Wellness Center, 2810 Baker Road.

“Since we won’t be together again until January 5, 2019, Karl and I would like to wish you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year and we thank you for showing up and bringing substance and a little fun to the Dexter Forum,” Karl Fink and John Hansen said in their forum notes.

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