Manchester Township Meets: Talks Watkins Lake, Broadband, and Cooperation





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By Seth Kinker, skinker@thesuntimesnews.com

The Board of Trustees of Manchester Township met last week and touched on multiple projects including the Watkins Lake Trail, their Broadband subcommittee, and improved relations with the Village of Manchester.

First, the Board passed a resolution to accept the finding of the Watkins Lake Trail -Trail Feasibility Study. When the Watkins Lake State Park and Preserve was opened in 2016, it marked the first time a joint operation between the state and county took place. The Michigan Department of Natural Resources and Washtenaw County Parks and Recreation Commission acquired just under 1,400 acres of land and have been developing the land since.



One aspect that drew the interest of residents of Manchester was an abandoned rail corridor running through existing Park and Preserve buildings. The rail road runs from west of Brooklyn and east into Manchester Township into the village. When the land was acquired, discussion on the development of this corridor into a non-motorized pathway began.

The feasibility study examined using that rail corridor as a right of way along the south side of Austin road, in addition to trail alignments and alternative pathways, they were looking at funding and grant opportunities for the trail too.

With the resolution of accepting the findings of the feasibility study passing, the township and village will continue to work with everyone involved and communicating with affected property owners as they look to develop the old railway.

The Manchester broadband subcommittee will hold its next meeting on Thursday, July 26 at 6 pm at the Manchester Township Hall. Items to be discussed will include the feasibility study and what their options are moving forward. Earlier this summer the township contracted with CCG to provide a feasibility study on bringing broadband internet to the township.

Township trustee and broadband subcommittee representative Lisa Moutinho also told The Sun Times she is hopeful that a broader discussion can take place during their August township meeting, starting an hour earlier than the scheduled time of 7pm to allow residents to voice their opinion.

Village President Pat Vaillencourt attended the July 17 township meeting where the relationship between the overlapping governments of the village and township became a topic. It was agreed that both sides would brainstorm ways to improve communication.

After a joint meeting earlier in the summer in which both the township and village felt there was a lack of communication from the other, both sides have looked to improve communication through team work and continuing to reach out to one another. The township decided that village minutes were to be added to the townships agenda packets moving forward.

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Seth Kinker

Reporter/Digital Media for The Sun Times News

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