Leighton Twp. hears more about infrastructure woes

The Leighton Township Board was told about three very needy road projects Thursday evening, but it’s the same old problem on fixing them — money.

Supervisor Steve Wolbrink mentioned the sorry state of the bridge over 140th Avenue, Hooker Cemetery needing a paving job and the terrible condition of the road on Paris Ridge Drive in front of the elementary school.

But in the wake of two one-mill requests being defeated at the polls, one in 2018 and one a year ago, there isn’t enough funding in the coffers to handle the problems.

“What this all comes down to is money,” Wolbrink said. “It’s really that simple.

Planning Commissioner Steve Shoemaker, who headed up a citizens’ road committee, said, “Maybe we should have knocked on more doors, but 2020 wasn’t a good year to do much of anything (because of the Coronavirus).”
Shoemaker noted the one-mill request was defeated by about 5 percentage points, but despite the huge increase in number of voters, the 5% gap was repeated.

Wolbrink said he learned from Tim Washburn of the Wayland Union Schools Transportation Department that the school bus no longer can go over the 140th Avenue bridge. He added that some trucks continue to do so and should be stopped.

Shoemaker said the issue is an aging wooden deck on the bridge.

Hooker Cemetery on Kalamazoo Avenue has needed asphalt paving for a long time, but the board Thursday night had to table bids, the lowest of which was $47,500 from Heiser.

Paris Ridge Drive’s troubles likely are the result of frequent use by buses, but once again, the answer is “show me the money.”

In other business at Thursday’s meeting, the board:

  • Was told by Fire Chief Matt Weston that Leighton’s one-month record of 41 calls was broken by April’s 44, but it appears that incidences are slowing down thus far in May.
  • Agreed to a contract with the Leighton Library for sharing the building and accommodating the addition. The library will pay $1,000 a year and will be billed monthly for expenses.

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