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Posted: 01/08/14

Infrastructure, development
all part of WT 2014 agenda

Observer Special Writer
      Washington Township is gearing up for a busy 2014. Plans to enhance township infrastructure, beef up police protection, new development and even a community center are all part of what's to come in 2014.
       A 200-acre land purchase was finalized at the end of 2013 for a community center with a public-private partnership.
       Supervisor Dan O'Leary said Total Soccer approached the township with plans to bring soccer domes to Washington. O'Leary said it ended up being a better idea to partner up and purchase the land together to bring both a soccer facility and community center into the township.
       "Why should I build a soccer field if you are, too," O'Leary said, adding they can do it together.
       The 200 acres are east of M-53 on 30 Mile Road and was purchased for $1.5 million.
       O'Leary said Total Soccer will build two indoor soccer domes and outdoor soccer fields. As part of the partnership, there are plans to build other amenities that may include baseball diamonds and possibly batting cages that Parks and Rec will be able to utilize.
       Total Soccer will begin the process first with the Planning Commission and, in the meantime, the township will present its feasibility studies for the community center. The community center will be a place for the Boys and Girls Club, which currently boasts more than 260 kids. The facility will offer a gym, workout rooms, rooms for classes and possibly even a pool.
       "This is the beginning of something great," he said.
       The location is ideal, O'Leary said, because it is easily accessible for Romeo and Bruce residents as well.
       "I think everyone is going to be really happy," he said and added that this will have a profound impact on recreation for the area.
       As for other development within the township, O'Leary said there are eight subdivisions that are in the works that will add 1,200 new homes to the area. While all 1,200 homes likely won't be finished in 2014, the developers will get a start on them.
       O'Leary said commercial projects had been slow but lately they've been picking up and he expects that to continue within the new year. The township still has four liquor licenses available to entice restaurants into the community.
       It won't only be a busy year for new development but for infrastructure improvements as well.
       "It's going to be a busy 2014," O'Leary said.
       There is a paving project on Mound Road between 28 Mile and 29 Mile roads. Three more miles of limestone will be applied to some of the gravel roads. The water tower project will be under way as well as a sewer plant at the north end of the township. O'Leary said the sewer plant will address the needs of its residents in that portion of the township as well as open up more opportunity for development.
       "There are a lot of infrastructure improvements," he said, adding that the township is always trying to make improvements and will be working on pump station upgrades.
       "Every year we try to do something to show taxpayers we're here doing something (for them)," he said. "And we still have one of the lowest local millages in Macomb County."
       While infrastructure improvements will be made in 2014, improvements to township public services will also continue.
       O'Leary said he, along with the Board of Trustees, will pursue the possibility of asking the voters for a millage increase for their police protection. O'Leary said currently there is 1 mill for police protection, which doesn't allow for enough deputies for the growing needs of the township. He said right now the township has about the same amount of feet on the ground as Romeo, but since Washington contracts with the Sheriff's Office, the cost is about $300,000 less than what Romeo pays for its police protection.
       The fire department is slated to have another good year and is starting off with a new fire chief, Brian Tryell.
       "Brian is clearly our man," O'Leary said.
       He said that every chief the township has had is good in his own way. Outgoing Chief Dan Last's hallmark was uniting the department and emphasizing the need for training. Tyrell brings an emphasis to fire prevention. O'Leary said he is one of the most educated fire officers in Macomb County and brings a scientific approach to fire prevention.
       "We've got a great year ahead of us," he said.

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Retrieved 8/3/2015 at 11:07:58 AM.
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