Otsego Township approves 108th Avenue work, Gun Plain officials pushed to do so

By: 
Daniel Pepper

Residents of the Gun Plain Township portion of 108th Avenue were at the last township board meeting to ask to get their part of the road improved.
A few days later, Otsego Township board members approved a work order for the project on their side of the line.
At the Gun Plain meeting Thursday, May 4, resident Lynea Hartig reminded township board members the residents had come to the board first in July 2015 to ask for a number of needed improvements to the road, which is too narrow and steep and its ditches and shoulders aren’t properly constructed.
“I just don’t feel Gun Plain Township is as concerned about it as Otsego Township,” Hartig said. “They set aside $100,000 and I don’t see that they have a lot more funds available than Gun Plain.”
The problem area of the road, west of 11th Street is mostly within Otsego Township but the very end—and a steep hill leading down to busier, paved 11th Street—are in Gun Plain Township.
“How can we make our road a priority?” Hartig said.
Gun Plain Township Supervisor Mike VanDenBerg said the township looked at its road needs every year in consultation with the road commission’s ratings and prioritized what would be done.
“We take all of our roads as a priority,” VanDenBerg said. “We look at all sorts of issues. We weren’t in the past able to keep up all the maintenance.”
Since township residents have voted and renewed a road millage that brings in about $400,000 per year, the board has been able to maintain more roads better.

The Allegan County Road Commission had sought a federal safety grant for the work, but that grant seems to not be forthcoming.
“We were hoping for the grant,” VanDenBerg said. “We need to look at all the roads.”
Trustee Ron Kopka said, “I think the main concern is the amount of traffic. It’s a secondary road, though I know it’s very important to you people who live out there.”
Trustee Jenann Pearson said she knew it was unfortunate for the people living on the road.
“How can we justify to the 4,500 other constituents? It’s not that we don’t care; we wish we could fix every road.”
VanDenBerg said the road meets minimum safety standards, according to the road commission.
“They would close it if it didn’t,” he said.

Otsego Township
The board approved a work order Monday, May 8, to clear trees and realign part of the road to go around a hill, affecting 0.54 miles. The project was budgeted at approximately $100,000 and township officials said they hoped it would be done by fall.
Consumers Energy has to be consulted to move some power poles in the area, which can only be done after engineering is finished by the road commission.
Board members approved the work order unanimously.
Contact Dan Pepper at dpepper@allegannews.com or at (269) 673-5534 or (269) 685-9571.
 

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