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Public Input Session for St. James Township Recreation Plan
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St. James Township



Joined: 15 Mar 2017
Posts: 16

PostPosted: Wed Dec 20, 2017 3:30 pm 
Post subject: Public Input Session for St. James Township Recreation Plan
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Public Input Session for 2018 St. James Township Five-Year Recreation Plan
Join us for lunch, learn about and contribute to our plan for future recreational opportunities on the island. Everyone is invited!
Wednesday, January 3rd 12:00-1:00PM at Beaver Island Community School. Lunch will be provided.
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Darby Campbell



Joined: 23 Nov 2009
Posts: 83
Location: Western Subs - Chicago

PostPosted: Wed Dec 20, 2017 5:04 pm 
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Please don't get me wrong, I'm encouraged to see the public being invited to a meeting for public input. My concern is the phrase, "Everyone is invited!". January 3rd when the population of the island is at it's lowest, really? I'm sure there are hundreds of tax payers who are not on the island, what about their invite and input?
Again, I'm encouraged about reaching out to the public. My concern is the timing of the meeting which will exclude several hundred interested tax payers and part time residents. Wouldn't a summer meeting when recreational people and more residents are able to attend be a more appropriate choice for generating input?
My hope is the township can do better.

DC
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Rob Cole



Joined: 13 May 2010
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 21, 2017 12:01 pm 
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Question: "Wouldn't a summer meeting when recreational people and more residents are able to attend be a more appropriate choice for generating input?"

Answer: Yes, it certainly would be--if wider public input was the goal of the upcoming session.
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St. James Township



Joined: 15 Mar 2017
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 21, 2017 5:44 pm 
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Perhaps the following will help people understand the St James Township Recreation Plan process.

A few bullet points:
• If the township holds up the process until after summer 2018, it will miss the major State of Michigan DNR, CZM, MNRTF Granting Cycle which happens in the spring of each year – the island would have to wait until spring 2019 to apply for the State Grants.
• The township decided last winter to wait until the extensive Master Planning process was completed before updating its Recreation Plan so that it could include all input gathered through that process
• The Master Plan Process (which culminated in the adoption by both townships of the Beaver Island Master Plan in May 2017) included several and varied community input mechanisms over a period of several months from summer 2016 through early winter 2017. The Approved Master Plan includes community defined action items and several pages of survey results, much of which is related to natural resources and recreation. Click here to view BI Master Plan http://www.stjamestwp.org/government_departments/planning_commission/index.php
• The Recreation Plan has been an item on the township agenda every month since last spring, during which time the board sifted through the surveys and action items in the new Master Plan and narrowed down the items that were of interest to most of the respondents.
• In October of 2017 the township applied for a $5,000.00 grant from the Charlevoix County Community Foundation for the purpose of completing the formal Recreation Plan and developing up to 4 grant-ready recreation based grant proposals for the spring 2018 State cycle.

In November of 2017 the following was posted on the Township Website: RECREATION PLAN UPDATE
Deputy St James Township Supervisor, Patrick Cull (BICS class of 2009) has been busy updating the township’s 5-year recreation plan. When the plan is completed and accepted by the State of Michigan, the township will be eligible to apply for major grants to complete projects that will improve and promote access to recreational sites for residents and visitors. The plan is being drafted based upon input from the recently completed Master Plan process and township adopted recreation goals. Click here to view Township Goals: http://www.stjamestwp.org/Adopted%20St%20James%20Township%20Goals%202017-2018.pdf

As soon as the rough draft is ready for review, we will place a link here (meaning the Twp Website). In January 2018 the township will host a public informational session to get feedback as well as an electronic format for people to comment and provide feedback. The plan is expected to be adopted in February 2018 following a formal public hearing. The plan will be adopted in time to apply for grants during the State’s spring 2018 granting cycle.

The township received a grant from the Charlevoix County Community Foundation to help fund the planning and development of a 5-Year recreation plan and grant-ready projects.


In Early December 2017 – The following note was included in the tax bill of every taxpayer in St James Township: Check out the NEWS & ANNOUNCEMENTS tab on our homepage for more information about our draft 5-Year Recreation Plan. This page (meaning the Township website) will soon have information on how to provide your input in one of these ways: attend a public input meeting, complete a recreation plan survey, email or phone one of us, or stop in to visit.

We hope as many people as possible can attend the meeting on January 3rd, or view it on Beaver Island News on the Net. Within a week after that meeting, the draft will be posted on the township website along with information about providing your input electronically. There will be a 30-day period of formal public comment, and then a formal public hearing in early February.
If anyone would like more information, please contact us – all contact information is on our website: http://www.stjamestwp.org/

This posting submitted by K McNamara, Supervisor
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Darby Campbell



Joined: 23 Nov 2009
Posts: 83
Location: Western Subs - Chicago

PostPosted: Fri Dec 22, 2017 12:53 am 
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Thank you for the thorough outline and explanation of the Recreation Plan process. Your response to the public exceeds my expectation of transparent public communication by a public body. You set a fine example and standard for other public boards on Beaver Island. I will and hope others will pay closer attention to your suggested sources for continued information.
In an effort for continuous quality improvement for transparent public communication, I will summarize several private messages I have received over time, not necessarily directed at any particular board. I offer these in hopes of improvement, not criticism. I'm sure many of these are not new and have been expressed publically before:
1 "SOP" (standard operating procedure) is that many public decisions are made outside public meetings or at meetings held after part time residents leave the island for the winter.
2 People with concerns are often intimidated publically and privately and therefore don't speak out.
3 Some boards lack member diversity with range of interests and knowledge, too narrow a focus, "puppets".
4 Recent turnover in township board members is showing positive improvement.
5 The State of Michigan owns the ferry but the township and board authority believe they have no obligation to communicate to the public.
I think the people who contacted me are sincere and hope for improvement, they certainly encouraged me. These comments are paraphrased and offered as food for thought as the island struggles with improving on several fronts.
Keep up the good work and thank you again to St James Township for the excellent response.
We look forward to becoming part of a community with all the potential Beaver Island has to offer.
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St. James Township



Joined: 15 Mar 2017
Posts: 16

PostPosted: Tue Jan 02, 2018 2:48 pm 
Post subject: Reminder of Public Input Session
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This is a reminder of the Public Input Session for 2018 St. James Township Five-Year Recreation Plan:
• Wednesday, January 3rd 12:00-1:00PM at Beaver Island Community School.
• Lunch will be provided.
• Join us for lunch, learn about and contribute to our plan for future recreational opportunities on the island.

We hope as many people as possible can attend the meeting on January 3rd, or view it on Beaver Island News on the Net.

Within a week after that meeting, the draft will be posted on the township website along with information about providing your input electronically.

There will be a 30-day period of formal public comment, and then a formal public hearing in early February.
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medic5740



Joined: 01 Dec 2005
Posts: 573
Location: Beaver Island

PostPosted: Tue Jan 02, 2018 11:10 pm 
Post subject: News on the 'Net
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The plan is for News on the 'Net is to be at the school for this presentation, video the gathering, and live stream it for anyone interested. Unless , something unusual happens, this session will be available for viewing by anyone interested at:

http://beaverisland.tv

It will also be recorded, and available to subscribers after processing and uploading.

Joe Moore, editor
Beaver Island News on the 'Net
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pmagz



Joined: 15 Jun 2013
Posts: 8
Location: Arlington Heights, IL

PostPosted: Thu Jan 04, 2018 9:26 pm 
Post subject: Public Input Session for St. James Township Recreation Plan
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I just skimmed through the BIMP document. It is very informative and well written. I am a seasonal resident. I wish I could have attended the input session since it concerns all residents. There are avenues of 2-way broadcasting such as streaming the meeting on Facebook Live that would allow off-island residents some input. One inexpensive and easy way to notify many taxpayers would be publicizing future interactive meetings in our real estate tax bills. This approach could solicit much more input to this process.

I would like to add one comment since I will be off island for the input session.

Something I believe has been overlooked in Chapter 5 (Economy and Tourism) is the cost to get to the island in the first place. Speaking from years of personal experience, this reason deters family and friends from visiting in the summer (especially the cost to bring over their cars).The action plan wants to "Explore alternative funding models for managing the Emerald Isle" and "Obtain funding and modify the ferries to be able to run more frequently (daily or twice daily) through the spring and fall seasons." Does the former mean they will try to save money to lower transportation costs/ticket fees?

I didn't see where the costs a visitor pays was considered in the plan. Is it? An Island visitor incurs costs getting to the island: transportation (ferry/air/boat fuel), meals, boarding and incidentals. A visitor's realized benefit of the Island would be the perceived benefit value net the the total sunk cost incurred to receive the benefit. For example, the economic benefit of trails is only realized if hikers can find value in the cost to get there! There are many beautiful hiking trails in the State of Michigan ( https://www.michigan.org/hiking )! One goal of the plan could be to ensure that the perceived benefit value is greater than the incurred costs.
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Blacksmith Apprentice



Joined: 19 Jun 2016
Posts: 21

PostPosted: Fri Jan 05, 2018 8:29 pm 
Post subject: Beaver Island Planning
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It seems odd to have two townships for such a small population making separate plans. What have been the barriers to combining the two townships, or at least doing planning jointly?

Bob Yager
New Property Owner on West Side Drive as of 8/2017
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I'm Just The Messenger



Joined: 25 Jun 2009
Posts: 175

PostPosted: Sun Jan 07, 2018 9:15 am 
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There was a petition going around a couple months ago for the ballot proposal of a township merger. I believe it will be voted on in the next primary election in August.
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duffer



Joined: 10 Dec 2012
Posts: 225
Location: beaver island

PostPosted: Sun Jan 07, 2018 11:38 am 
Post subject: grants
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I find it ironic that were looking for grant money? why cant these things be volunteer ? i see taxes as an issue and see why summer residents are getting leary of what gets voted on with out their input. I do not see us getting an indoor pool or exersize room. things that could attract more year round residents, we could all use getting in better shape. I love winter out door activities and believe when it is zero or raining it would be a place to go and you find gyms and pools bring people together. but with out those who pay for it, it makes us look like Washington dc no concern about others tax dollars, not looking to make an issue but pointing out maybe why our growth is slow at coming back. wanting the best for everyone!
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Gillespie



Joined: 11 Mar 2003
Posts: 1282

PostPosted: Sun Jan 07, 2018 2:43 pm 
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Duff, these monies come primarily from the State recreation fund which money comes from leases on state lands for gas and oil sales. It's there for the taking with the right application. Hopefully we can get some action going on bike bath grants that could be done with other paving activities such as Donegal Bay Road.
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Darby Campbell



Joined: 23 Nov 2009
Posts: 83
Location: Western Subs - Chicago

PostPosted: Sun Jan 07, 2018 6:21 pm 
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I think the Recreation Plan has some wonderful ideas for promoting Beaver Island for residents and tourism. However Beaver Island is not a Field of Dreams where, "if you build it, they will come" until the island residents and responsible boards get the price of boat transportation down to where families can afford to come.
I hope that somehow others share this concern and that it can be addressed along with the plan.
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JFPowers



Joined: 27 Nov 2005
Posts: 370

PostPosted: Mon Jan 08, 2018 8:53 am 
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I hope the ferry company is reading your comments. Travel on the ferry has dropped to almost Pre-Emerald Isle levels. Around 30,000 people ride the ferry now as opposed to close to 45000 at the peak. According to this survey done in the mid 2000's close to 60,000 people should be riding the ferry now. And these numbers are elevated by the Beaver Island Music Festival.

http://www.michigan.gov/documents/mdot/BITA_CoordStudyFinalRpt_339749_7.pdf

A major change in managing the Ferry Boat Experience needs to change to address this disconnect. And as the ferry ridership goes, so goes the Beaver Island economy.
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Darby Campbell



Joined: 23 Nov 2009
Posts: 83
Location: Western Subs - Chicago

PostPosted: Mon Jan 08, 2018 11:01 am 
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This might be a silly question because I'm just now becoming familiar with how things work on Beaver Island. It is my understanding in talking to people that the Emerald Isle is owned by the State of Michigan with the township and the Boat Authority being responsible for contracting the Beaver Island Boat Company to simply operate the boat. I also believe that the Boat Company is a for profit company and sets the prices for passengers, vehicles and freight, along with the schedule. Shouldn't the Boat Authority and township boards take action to assure that the Emerald Isle, being publically owned, is operated in the best interest of the public and not simply for the profit of the Boat Company? Why would the Boat Authority and township not review all the financial data along with declining usage figures to determine transportation fares and schedule?
If what I'm hearing is true, something doesn't sound right with this scenario. In the best interest of promoting Beaver Island's future, all public boards need to be transparent and working in the public's best interest. Simply my opinion.

Just added: I was just contacted by someone who said she thinks that the State of Michigan either pays for all the fuel or heavily subsidizes the cost along with paying for all upkeep and repairs to the Emerald Isle. I'm no business genius but if true, that tells me that the Boat Company must be operating at a very high profit margin on the public's nickle.
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