Safe space planned for person-to-person transactions

Alex Doty • Nov 29, 2017 at 2:00 PM

Grand Haven Township is looking to accommodate the growing trend of in-person exchanges that are the result of online and classified ad purchases.

“The goal is to provide a site that is considered safer, in as much as these activities will be monitored, and there will likely be both (Ottawa County) sheriff’s deputies and (township) Fire/Rescue personnel nearby,” Township Manager Bill Cargo said. “Trustee Cal Meeusen should be credited with the idea for an e-commerce exchange site and for expanding the site for the benefit of blended families.”

During a Township Board work session earlier this month, Meeusen recommended that the township consider establishing an e-commerce exchange zone, which would be modeled similar to what was completed by both Delta Township near Lansing and Redford Township near Detroit.

Grand Haven Township staff would select several spaces in the parking lot between the fire department’s building and the administrative offices for the zone. Residents could then meet at the exchange zone to do business, such as sell or purchase goods and materials from online websites or classified ads.

Township officials say the zone would be in an area that county deputies and city police officers frequent, and it would be readily monitored with an additional security camera. Thus, it would create an area where people could feel “safer” as they complete sales of online goods. 

Cargo said the Township Board has authorized township staff to proceed forward with the project, with a couple of additions.

“First, the township will also allow the administrative building lobby to be utilized during normal business hours for e-commerce exchanges,” he said. “Second, because the parking lot is also used by blended families as an exchange site for their children, at least one additional video camera will be added.”

That would mean there would be two surveillance cameras covering this parking lot. 

“(It will) provide a video record of any activity that occurs — both for e-commerce exchanges and the pick-up/drop-off of children from blended families,” Cargo noted.

Township officials say the cost to establish an e-commerce exchange zone would include signage and installation of a high-definition video camera connected to the township’s current video recording system in order to monitor and record activities within the site. Preliminary cost estimates total less than $5,000.

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