LETTER TO THE EDITOR: The rest of the story

Jul 26, 2012


The bridge will be re-decked and the cement supports repaired by the Ottawa County Road Commission sometime in February 2013. The requested walkway on the east side of the bridge was estimated to be $838,000. The north and south approaches estimated cost is $462,000. Total: $1.3 million. Length of the walkway and approaches: two-tenths of a mile. This got my attention.

Due to the economy, prices have come down; costs now estimated to be $583,905 (walkway) and $462,000 (approaches). Total: $1,045,905. Ottawa County Road Commission explained with the lower cost, more grant money has become available; therefore, the township may be required to spend $50,000 for the walkway. The approaches are in question. According to Township Manager Gallagher, these may not be constructed for 2-3 years.

I suggested an alternate plan: construct a bike path from the north end of West Spring Lake Road from Hemlock to 168th to an existing path on Taft (runs east and west). A standard bike path cost is estimated at $190,000 per mile. The distance is 1.5 miles. Also, I spoke with 49 residents on 168th, including two subdivisions; all favor a bike path.

I was amazed at their response; and, after hearing their reasons, it became more apparent to inform the Township Board of the unsafe conditions on 168th, and that residents have been waiting years for a bike path. I believe the board has an obligation to the residents — provide them with a safe bike path. They have a need, not a want.

The alternative solves the board’s concern for a safe bike path and closes the 12-mile gap around the lake. The safe alternative is cost-effective. Township and grant funds are all taxpayers’ dollars and should be spent wisely.

— Janice Sluka, Spring Lake Township


Tri-cities realist

Janice, what in the world were you thinking? You actually had the gall to question the township and the Ottawa Co Road Commision? Bravo, and to think a citizen, such as yourself could spend a few hours (or minutes), and come up with a reasonable plan, at roughly 1/4 the cost. I am rarely surprised at the great ideas generated by our citizenry, nice work. Please do us all a favor, and don't accept no as an answer. If you run into bureaucratic obstacles, make them known, there are plenty in this community that share your frugality, and would be willing to lend a hand to ensure our tax dollars are spent wisely. Again, job well done, and thank you!


The 12 mile loop around Spring Lake needs to be completed. It does appear this project is expensive, but users will still be invited to this bridge location and anything we can do to make it safer is worth every cent. It would simply be a tragedy to not place a safe crossing at this site when the bridge is being re-decked. I commend Spring Lake Township and the Road Commission for their efforts to make this a reality.


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