Friday, August 1, 2014

PM Township Vote May Improve Services

Sutton's Landing boardwalk
Sutton's Landing boardwalk (photo by jhy)

based on a news article in the Ludington Daily News July 31, 2014

Pere Marquette Township, Mason County's charter township, has an outstanding system of parks and services for quiet recreation. The popular Mason County Campground with the associated Pumped Storage Project trails, picnic area and disc golf course; Buttersville Park and the Pere Marquette Shrine; Sutton's Landing with picnic facilities and an accessible fishing pier; and Memorial Tree Park are all part of the township system.

A proposal on the August 5 ballot requests that the township dissolve the Pere Marquette Parks Commission and its powers and assets transferred to the township's board of trustees.

Commission Chair, Jim Christensen, is behind the effort to get the question placed before the public for a vote. He's concerned that people will assume this means the township is no longer going to support its parks. In fact the opposite is true.

Other townships, for the most part, use a different system to manage parks and recreation with an appointed advisory board. Currently, PM Parks Commissioners have to be elected. The Parks Commission meets seven times a year, while the township board meets 24 times a year. Projects that must go through the separate parks group are slowed considerably by the low number of meetings. The Parks board does not meet at all in the winter, a good time to get some things accomplished in the off season.

Christensen noted that some people may be concerned that this gives the township too much power, but he notes that the township always controls the treasury, and must approve any parks projects anyway.

The expected result of this structural change is that actions should be approved in a more timely manner, and the administrative structure will better fit with other townships. The change may also facilitate grant requests, as those generally come from township boards.

If you live in Pere Marquette Township, which also includes the city of Ludington, consider these issues as you vote on August 5.

Follow- up- This vote passed 501-90. The Pere Marquette Parks board will now be appointed and function as described above. (JHY as reported in the Ludington Daily News)

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See Pere Marquette Township
See Sutton's Landing (recently updated)
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