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Road budgets broken by long, harsh West Michigan winter

Road budgets broken by long, harsh West Michigan winter

OTTAWA COUNTY, Mich.—The West Michigan winter is carrying on, even though the Ottawa County Road Commission budget has dried up.

The road commission says $2.6 million was budgeted for winter-related work on roads, but more than $3.4 million has already been spent this year. The Michigan Department of Transportation has also had its budget blown by the extreme winter conditions.  MDOT had budgeted $1.3 million for winter maintenance of state highways in Ottawa County; so far it’s already spent more than $1.7 million.

The Ottawa County Road Commission will review its budget plan in April and likely cut back some planned road improvement projects and other maintenance activities to balanace the budget.

My Town Hudsonville: Share your ideas for Hudsonville's parks

My Town Hudsonville: Share your ideas for Hudsonville's parks

HUDSONVILLE, Mich.—What does Hudsonville’s parks system need?

That’s the question the Parks and Recreation Committee hopes to answer, with the help of the community.   The committee has released a public survey to help determine the city’s recreation plan for the next five years. The director of planning and zoning says the findings will be used to prioritize projects within the park system.

People who take the survey do not need to be a resident of Hudsonville. The first 50 people to supply their email address on the survey will receive a gift. You can find the survey here.

 

The dangers of Christmas trees on display in Grandville

The dangers of Christmas trees on display in Grandville

GRANDVILLE, Mich.--  How you care for your Christmas tree could mean the difference between life and death.

Grandville Fire Marshal Lynnae White demonstrated why on Tuesday, Dec. 17.  The tree standing outside the box had been watered daily and was freshly cut; the tree in the cubicle was not watered and did not have a fresh cut to its bottom.  Firefighters placed wrapped boxes under both trees then lit the boxes with a flare.  White says the tree that was watered and taken care of burned, but once the fire went out on the boxes, the tree went out too.  White says the tree that was not watered kept burning even after the boxes were extinguished.

White has these tips for owners of living Christmas trees:

Grand Valley Metropolitan Council welcomes new members

Grand Valley Metropolitan Council welcomes new members

WALKER, Mich.—The Grand Valley Metropolitan Council has some new faces at its helm.

During the Dec. 5 meeting, Grandville Mayor Steve Maas, Kentwood Mayor Steve Keply and Walker Mayor Mark Huizenga officially joined the GVMC Board of Directors.  All three men were elected in November and selected by city members to serve on the panel.

Ada Township Supervisor George Haga and Sand Lake Village Trustee Roger Towsley also took the oath of office.  They represent the first two communities to join GVMC since 2007. The Board of Directors also recently approved accepting Lowell Township as a member. 

The GVMC is in charge of coordinating development and governmental affairs across municipalities.

Water treatment upgrades to come with a higher price tag

Water treatment upgrades to come with a higher price tag

COOPERSVILLE, Mich.—  The Coopersville City Council is giving the green light to put more money toward a water treatment facility upgrade.

Council members approved taking an additional $28,500 out of the city’s sewer fund to pay for new dechlorination tanks.  The final price tag is expected to be approximately $148,500, all of which will come out of the sewer fund.  City Manager Steven Patrick says the fund balance is more than $900,000, so the additional cost shouldn’t be a problem. 

Patrick plans to sign a contract with Bauer Construction to begin the project this week. He is hopeful work on the tanks will wrap up before January.

New bike path to cut through Grand Rapids

New bike path to cut through Grand Rapids

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich.—A new bike path will soon take shape in Grand Rapids.

The city is getting a $618,514 grant from the Michigan Department of Transportation to create the Seward Avenue Bikeway.  The 3.5 mile bike route will cut through the heart of Grand Rapids and connect nearly 190 miles of regional trails, including the White Pine Trail, Oxford Street Trail and Kent Trails. The path will run along Seward Avenue from Wealthy Street to the Riverside Park trailhead and include a bike shelter, bike lockers, bike signs and signals and an upgraded pedestrian bridge over Indian Mill Creek at Broadway Avenue.

The project is expected to cost just over $1 million.  Additional funding will come from the City of Grand Rapids, Downtown Grand Rapids Inc., Bikes Belong and Freewheeler Bike Shop.  The city commission will recognize all financial supporters during its meeting at 9:30 a.m. Tuesday.    

Volunteers create new garden area for YMCA children

Volunteers create new garden area for YMCA children

GRANDVILLE, Mich.— There’s a new place to help grow Michigan’s next generation of agricultural experts at Visser Family YMCA.

The YMCA enlisted the help of Lowe’s Heroes to create a new outdoor space complete with education gardens.  Approximately 30 volunteers spent 25 hours spread over three days putting together the space, with the help of Sustainable Outdoor Solutions, which donated some materials.  The gardens include two stream beds fueled by gutter runoff, a seating area and three “Impact Gardens,” which will be planted and maintained and harvested by children in the YMCA’s Impact after school program and summer day camp.  YMCA officials hope the gardens will help children understand life cycles as well as how to eat healthier.