2017-12-07 / Front Page

Nature reserve concept presented to Thomas Township Board

By Cameron Kerkau

The Thomas Township Board of Trustees received a presentation from Parks and Recreation Director John Corriveau at its regular meeting on Monday, Dec. 4. The presentation concerned a Nature Reserve Concept plan for 70 acres of land acquired by the township in 2012.

“The only two ways to access this property is through Wallace Drive or if you walk through the Heritage Insurance building,” said Corriveau.

The Heritage Wise Group building, located on 6660 Gratiot Road, consists of a bridge over the Reineke Drain leading to the property.

Corriveau presented the idea of purchasing the building using a possible Michigan Trust Fund Land Acquisition Grant, and offered four options to the board concerning the use of the building if acquired. The first option is to convert it into a facility like the Chippewa Nature Center, a nature reserve open seven days a week with 10 part-time employees. The second option is a nature reserve that’s open five days a week. The third option is a reserve that’s open on the weekend. And the fourth and cheapest option is to remove the building and repurpose the foundation as a bridge.

“The primary reason for having this presentation tonight is to get [the board] thinking about it. We’re not looking for any kind of decision tonight,” said Thomas Township Manager Russell Taylor. The concept will be brought to the board with more specific information and figures at a later date.

Also at the meeting, the board approved of the annual fireworks display process for the Swan Valley Banquet Center. Fire Chief Mike Cousins reminded the board of the process, which was approved by the board in 2012 and allowed the township manager to approve firework display permits for local businesses on behalf of the board as long as the fire department approves as well.

“Swan Valley Banquet Center has taken advantage of that since 2012 and have very much appreciated the flexibility that it has allowed them to display fireworks,” said Cousins.

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