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Posted: 04/09/14

Bruce reallocates CDBG funds to culvert repairs

Observer Staff Writer
      Federal dollars originally set aside for a Bruce Township park will instead be redirected to fixing up a culvert.
       At a special meeting held March 27, the Board of Trustees voted 4-0 to reallocate $78,660 in Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funds to repair a deteriorating culvert at 36 Mile Road. Trustee Mark Falker was not present.
       CDBG funds are provided by the Department of Housing and Urban Development for projects that eliminate slum and blight or benefit low- to moderate-income residents. The funds are given to counties, which in turn trickle it down to local governments.
       In Febuary 2013, Bruce Township received $118,000 for its three-year allocation, divvying up $81,420 to brick and mortar projects and $36,580 to non-profit organizations.
       The township set aside $78,660 of its brick and mortar funds to renovate the Orchard Hills Park, located on 33 Mile Road and Van Dyke, with handicap-accessible playground equipment and parking. A total of $66,660 was designated for equipment and $12,000 for parking.
       Clerk Susan Brockmann said before the project could begin, the county informed the township that the funds no longer qualified and had to be reallocated to another project.
       "It's kind of hard sometimes to get these projects," she said. "It's very disappointing that we weren't able to use these funds."
       Andy Wakeland, an engineer with Giffels-Webster, recommended the unused funds go toward repairing the headwall at the Apel Drain, located on township-owned park land at 36 Mile and Hipp roads.
       He said due to a sinkhole, the headwall has a one-year life expectancy on one culvert and a 10-year lifespan on the other culvert.
       "It becomes an eligible project because it is an immediate health and safety threat that we want to take care of," Wakeland said.
       Brockmann said the repairs would alleviate concerns of flooding for residents living near the drain. The application will be submitted to the county for review with the hopes of finishing the project this summer.
       Wakeland said both culverts will be examined to determine the costs of the repairs, but is only expecting to take care of the first culvert with the funding.
       No comments were made during a public hearing held on the matter.
       Macomb County typically receives $1.7 million in CDBG funds on an annual basis. Last year, the county changed its distribution from an annual disbursal to a three-year cycle for 21 local municipalities.

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