By Lonnie Huhman,
The latest Dexter Forum had local, regional and state-side discussions.
Locally in Dexter, the topics for the March 2 forum were the signs of a changing season; what’s happening at Country Market and will Webster Township build a fire station.
Forum moderators John Hansen and Karl Fink began their post-meeting notes with, “The Dairy Queen is open. This annual rite of spring is proof positive that we can survive the winter and survive the election season and just about any other adversity.”
It was also mentioned that someone heard a Sandhill Crane, which could also mean spring is near.
Since it closed last fall, the future of the old Country Market location has become a regular topic at the forum. Anyone that has been by the location on Dexter-Ann Arbor Road has probably seen the white work vans parked out front. Because of this rumors have swirled and some get discussed, not started, at the forum.
One rumor is that the workers who come in the vans are taking out the refrigerator equipment and are clearing out the building.
Dexter City Councilman Paul Cousins was at the forum and said he had heard rumors too, about the location being divided up and one saying that a property outlot would be used for something. He said there may be an interested party that’s performing a 60-day due diligence at the location.
Cousins said he wonders what the community would like to see there, which elicited some responses from the forum attendees, including it becoming a Dollar Store or post office. He said the senior center looked into it, but its use may be too costly for it.
Another local official, John Scharf of the Webster Township Board, was on hand. Cousins asked Scharf about Webster looking at plans for a fire station.
Scharf said the township has a location, adjacent to township hall, for a fire station and has saved money over the years for it, around $200,000 each year, and now have over $2 million saved. However, he said it may cost nearly $3 million.
Webster Township is exploring building a new station that would be manned 24 hours a day, which it doesn’t have currently and relies on the other stations in the Dexter Area Fire Department for 24-hour response.
Scharf said response time in parts of Webster, especially in the northeast corner, are not good and in some cases range from 10 to 20 minutes. He said another part of this discussion is that medical calls are a big part of the total emergencies in the township, but the advanced life saving ambulance service is not part of the DAFD but rather the Huron Valley Ambulance service.
He said it would be helpful to hear from the community, especially as the township works on its new budget. The next Webster Township Board meeting is at 7 p.m. Tuesday, March 19.
In more regional topics, the forum also talked about the ever-growing trail system, specifically the Border-to-Border trail. One forum attendee said he wondered about how the route is chosen because in areas it might not be along the best looking spots. It was discussed that the route was probably chosen after considering things such as wetlands, regulations pertaining to the Huron River and general right-of-way.
“Like everything else, there are all sorts of factors,” Hansen and Fink said in their notes. “There are regulations involved when crossing rivers, crossing roads, crossing wetlands, crossing rails along with staying barrier free. The whole trail system is a modern miracle in my opinion and a tremendous asset to our community.”
The forum agreed the trails are great and an example of collaboration between different municipalities and organizations.
For a state-side look, new State Senator Lana Theis (R-Brighton) was in attendance at the forum. Theis now represents Livingston County and western Washtenaw County.
She said she is busy with various things, including being chairwoman of the senate’s education committee. One of her priorities is to continue to work toward fixing the state’s auto insurance rates. She ran on a platform that included the idea that it’s time to work together on reforming or repealing Michigan’s auto no-fault auto insurance system to provide drivers with lower rates, combat auto insurance fraud, and reduce the number of uninsured drivers across our state.
The next forum will be at 8:30 a.m. Saturday, March 16, at the Dexter Wellness Center, 2810 Baker Road.
The Dexter Forum is supported by the Dexter Wellness Coalition as part of the 5 Healthy Towns initiative to “help connect with others in healthy ways”. The purpose of the Forum is to create an opportunity for interested women and men to gather to discuss important issues facing our community. All are welcome on a drop-in basis. The group meets on the first and third Saturdays of the month.