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| 2 min read | by Lonnie Huhman, lhuhman@thesuntimesnews.com |

Ok Scio Township residents, how much are parks and pathways worth to you?

Other ways of asking this are, how important is it to you to have pathway connections to the different parks and nature reserves around the township or how important is it to you to connect Scio paths to neighboring pathway systems?

Is completing the Zeeb Road Pathway to the Border-to-Border Trail along the Huron River important? Is extending the Mill Creek path from the city of Dexter into Scio Township and to its Sloan Preserve important?

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One big thing holding back improvements to the parks and preserves and the completion and creation of paths is money.

These are just some of the questions residents need to consider as the township considers a millage vote.

Although there is still much to do, including having a public hearing at 7 p.m. on Jan. 14 at township hall, a ballot proposal might go before township voters in the coming year, possibly in May, that would ask if residents are willing to pay more taxes in order to see the park and pathway system get some big improvements.

The Scio Township Board voted on Dec. 10 to set a date for a public hearing for a proposed tax increase to support parks and pathways millage.

The proposal comes from the township’s Transportation Alternatives Planning Committee (TAP) and the Parks Advisory Board (PAB), with support of the Land Preservation Commission (LPC.)

They are proposing a new parks and pathways millage to generate additional revenue for park and pathway improvements and long-term maintenance and create township capacity to implement park and pathway plans.

The proposal millage would ask for .95 mills ($.95 on each $1,000 of taxable value) for a period of 10 years. Estimated revenue in the first year the township could collect if this millage is approved and levied by the township in the 2020 calendar year is $1,220,000.

The township board had some discussion about the proposal and said it’s hoping to see good public input at next month’s hearing, where citizen feedback would be considered; the proposal’s details could be ironed out and next steps would be determined if it has the green light from the township board.

The township board’s discussion centered around such topics as: is asking for a mill too much and would a vote in May give the township and its volunteer team enough time to educate the public about the needs and potential improvements. These were just a few of the topics.

The proposal was brought to the township board on Dec. 10 by a few representatives from the volunteer group who has been working for years on this, including Will Hathaway from the Parks and Recreation Advisory Board, Jane Vogel from the Transportation Alternatives Planning (TAP) Committee and Alec Jerome, planning commission chair.

In their proposal presentation, they said they understand this would be a big ask of the community, but there’s a lot of positives that could come with an improved park and pathway system, which they believe past feedback to the township has said the community wants. They said there are a lot of opportunities to deliver good, safe non-motorized connectivity to Scio Township residents that would give them access to different parks and nature preserves as well as connection to other pathways.

The hearing will be next month. In the meantime interested residents can contact the township or go to its website for more information about this millage proposal, which can be found in the Dec. 10 meeting packet, and past presentations on the proposed park and pathway system improvements.

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