Pittsfield Invests In Parks

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Note: This story has been modified from its earlier version, to correct a typo, add a sentence of context, and to rearrange sentence order for clarity.

Montibeller Park is getting a $1,454,500 makeover. The Pittsfield Township Board of Trustees approved a contract with Dexter-based A. R. Brouwer LLC June 9, to rearrange the whole park.

“A.R. Brouwer Company is pleased to work with Pittsfield Township on the Montibeller Park project. We are always happy to be a part of a project that benefits the community,” A. R. Brouwer Marketing Manager Jodi Trisdale said.

The general contractor will be following a plan set up by the township to build a new pavilion and welcoming plaza area in between the two parking lots. A tennis court, shed and existing pavilion will be removed, and the basketball courts and restrooms will be renovated.

Some final details are being worked out, according to Loveland, but he hopes to get a crew working on the site by July. Loveland said it was too early to estimate when the work would be completed given the uncertain supply chain of materials and labor availability that the economy is dealing with because of the economic shutdown caused by the coronavirus.

Brouwer was the lowest of three bids for the contact, according to Stantec engineering consultants Claire Martin and Mark Pascoe. The two said in a letter attached to the last meeting’s packet that “Brouwer is … the lowest responsive, responsible bidder for the above referenced project.”

Lillie Park is also going to get its parking lot rehabilitated with a budget of $382,407.50. Novi-based Nagle Paving will be doing the work, according to the packet.

This comes at a time when some residents are butting heads with the township over another, proposed park, at the corner of Waters Road and Oak Valley Drive. Residents have asked for a park there for years and it looks like they might finally get one.

But the catch is that there are two massive parcels there, one of which is going to be developed into another housing development, but the township set up a Google form vote to ask residents if they wanted to have the park developed as is or swapped with the housing development’s location.

According to minutes from the Planning Commission, the original plan was to put the proposed park at the corner of Oak Valley Drive and Waters Road, and the piece of property further along Waters Road would be a series of yet-to-be-constructed rowhouses. This would isolate the park from the intersection and make it more convenient for people from adjacent neighborhoods to use it.

Robertson Brothers, the developer of the adjacent property was open to the idea of swapping the locations and a survey was conducted in March. The vote was very close in the end; with 50.8 percent of the 122 voters choosing to go with the original plan.

The vote that they did do was held over Google Form Vote. But some people, like Pittsfield Township resident Christina Lirones, said they were confused by the wording and thought it was a simple survey. Lirones told the Sun Times News that she actually didn’t vote in the Google Form vote because she thought it was a survey and not binding.

The wording was actually changed at the request of an adjacent resident, Markus Mobius, who has spoken repeatedly at township meetings. Mobius has been highly critical of the whole purpose at recent Pittsfield meetings, questioning the way the vote was advertised and the result. He called the entire process botched in a conversation with the Sun Times News, and criticized the way Supervisor Grewal handled it.

“The Township does not own any other piece of property in the vicinity of Waters/Oak Valley and, as I noted publicly at the May 12 board meeting, there is an inherent conflict between the mission of a public agency and its elected officials – to maximize public good – and that of a private entity, to maximize private profit. As such, any and all engagement by planning staff with the developer to entertain the idea of a ‘land swap’ of public land with private land was done at the request of Mr. Mobius and his neighbors,” Grewal said in an email to the Sun Times News.

The next phase of development for the new park is now with the Park Commission, which did not respond to multiple requests for comment.

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