Green Twp. plans to re-purpose walk bridge

Supervisor Jim Chapman and the other members of the Green Charter Township Board approved a bid from Morning Star Excavating to purchase the pedestrian walk bridge spanning North State Street in Big Rapids to be placed over Paris Creek. Permits and cost estimates will have to be obtained before the board makes a decision on whether to move forward with using bridge. (Pioneer photo/Taylor Fussman)

GREEN TWP. — After several attempts to place a bridge over Paris Creek to connect the Green Charter Township Hall to the park, the Green Charter Township Board may have a solution.

At a special meeting Friday morning, members of the board voted 5-2 to accept a bid to purchase the walkway portion of the pedestrian walk bridge spanning across North State Street in Big Rapids for $2,800 from Morning Star Excavating. Nancy Stephan and Kelly Cushway were the only dissenters.

The Michigan Department of Transportation will remove the bridge at the beginning of July, and Morning Star will transport it after removal. The $2,800 bid covers the cost of the bridge and to have it delivered and offloaded.

“The bridge has a really strong potential as working out very well for us to connect the township hall and park,” said Supervisor Jim Chapman. “In my opinion, that is an incredibly good price.”

Although the bid was approved, Chapman explained there is no guarantee the bridge will be used as they still need permits and cost estimates.

However, Chapman explained if the bridge cannot be used, he has been in contact with a potential buyer who would purchase the bridge at the full $2,800, effectively reimbursing the township.

Cushway said it may be a good deal, but he has concerns about storing the bridge and the cost of installing it.

“It looks to me like it’s going to be a lot of money, a lot of consulting, a lot of surveys and permits associated with the bridge. It might be nice to have, but I just think we got to put a little more time and effort into researching the bridge,” he said.

Ross Meads, the middle and high school principle of Crossroads Charter Academy, questioned the plan at the meeting because of the lead-based paint on the bridge.

“I think it’s a great idea, but I’m really confused because part of the reason the City and Crossroads are not keeping the bridge is when we tested it, it had lead-based paint on it and the whole environmental issue was going to make it so cost prohibitive to maintain that neither the City or Crossroads wanted to do it,” Meads said.

Despite the concerns, the majority of the board agreed buying the bridge while they have the opportunity and deciding how to move forward after would be the best option.

“It’s possible for us to get to the point where we decide to not spend the money and not do it, but what I looked at in bringing this option to the board was it is a very unique opportunity with a very small window,” Chapman said.

The township also approved a bid from Morning Star Excavating for removal and replacement of the Spruce Road culvert. The total cost of the bid is $92,130 and the township’s share of the bid is $62,130.

The next Green Charter Township Board meeting is scheduled for 7 p.m. on Tuesday, July 10.

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