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A second Township of Excellence award for SL Twp.

Marie Havenga • May 9, 2018 at 12:00 PM

SPRING LAKE TWP. – The Michigan Township Association recently named Spring Lake Township as a Township of Excellence for the second time.

Spring Lake is the first township in the state to have received the honor twice.

The first Township of Excellence award came in 2014 for its 2012-16 performance. The most current award is for the 2016-20 term. Spring Lake was the only township out of 1,240 in Michigan to receive the award.

Spring Lake Township received the designation after meeting a series of demanding, high-level criteria — including fire insurance ratings, financial and other policies, planning and zoning, elections, cemetery, and other best practices.

“It is very easy to have a vision that states you want to be the best possible place to live, work, learn, recreate and worship,” Township Supervisor John Nash said. “It is another thing to be sincerely dedicated to that vision. We have a very special team of elected officials, staff and many volunteers who are committed to our vision.”

Nash said the MTA Township of Excellence standard was an “opportunity for us to see if we could achieve such a high standard and be evaluated by an outside source on that basis. It took a lot of work, but we achieved that standard in 2014, and we are very proud to have achieved it again in 2018.”

MTA considers a Township of Excellence “a strong, vibrant community governed by a township board that adheres to best practices to deliver quality programs and services to accomplish community-driven goals.”

MTA Executive Director Larry Merrill said he's proud of Spring Lake Township for achieving the award for a second time.

“The criteria to achieve this award is extremely rigorous and reflects that the elected board members, along with the township manager and the entire township staff, are reaffirming their commitment to excellence and implementing best practices within the entire spectrum of their programs and services,” he said.

Township Manager Gordon Gallagher said the award is a huge honor.

“The MTA represents all 1,240 townships in the state,” he said. “To be recognized by the MTA is just excellent. It's a great thing. I think it showed the commitment that our staff has, and our elected officials have, for local government excellence. We've really got a great group.”

Gallagher gave a recent incident as an example. When a fire broke out in North Shore Estates, fire apparatus blocked the road. A resident was trying to get home with groceries.

Fire department staff moved the groceries to a vehicle on the other side of the blockage and brought the resident and groceries to the home.

“They were certainly focused on firefighting, but those are the kind of above-and-beyond things our staff does on a regular basis,” Gallagher said. “I think that's a big part of excellence — you really work to exceed expectations.”

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