“At some point you have to decide if this project can move forward,” Wolverine Construction project manager Dulane Coval told council. “If you don’t have some of these things resolved by the end of next week, we’ll have to go elsewhere.”
At its Sept. 6 meeting, the Village Council formally approved sculpting the soil removed from the Mill Point Park Preserve west of School Street into a sledding hill at a cost of about $23,000. Councilman Marv VandenBosch cast the lone dissenting vote at that meeting.
VandenBosch, a longtime opponent of the Grand River Greenway’s path through the wetlands, told the project manager after Wednesday’s meeting that he had called the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality and said, “I’m going to do everything I can to stop this project.”
The DEQ has been in contact with village officials and the village’s environmental consulting firm in recent days, according to Village Manager Ryan Cotton and Lakeshore Environmental consultant Roman Wilson.
Wilson said the DEQ has not ruled out the sledding hill, but that costs are unknown for what may be required — likely a clay barrier underneath and on top of the sculpted soil, which tested positive for trace metal contamination. A long-term maintenance plan may also be required, according to Wilson.
Other options include trucking the material to a landfill at an estimated cost of about $80,000 or building it into a berm at Mill Point Park.
Earlier this month, contractors estimated the boardwalk portion of the Greenway through wetlands west of Mill Point Park would need much longer pilings than anticipated — at a cost of an additional $85,000.
Since that time, engineers redesigned portions of the boardwalk to bring the additional cost down to $33,000, according to Cotton.
Council was expected Wednesday night to discuss options to cover additional costs — including scaling down the transient dock project at Mill Point Park, moving unused floating docks from Tanglefoot Park to Mill Point Park, deferring other projects and seeking more donations.
The wetland mitigation costs will not be known until the DEQ has “time to digest this,” according to Wilson.
The $1.3 million project is largely funded by grants and public and private donations.
Council will hold another special meeting to discuss Greenway options at 7 p.m. Sept. 22 at Barber School, 102 W. Exchange St.
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