Questions remain on 12th Street project funding commitments

Martin and Watson Paving roadstownship officials appear to be ready to proceed with their joint project to reconstruct and pave 12th Street almost a mile south from M-222, but there still are questions about funding.

Both township boards have pledged up to $150,000 each to fund the project, but the U.S.-131 Motor Speedway has reduced its commitment from $100,000 to $80,000 and J & H Convenience Store and Marathon gas station has indicated it will go only as high as $15,000. The Allegan County Road Commission has reported that the project’s total cost will be about $400,000, so the commitments received thus far are $5,000 short.

Martin Township officials Wednesday evening said they’d like J & H to up its ante to $20,000 for curb work that will be done around the gas station at the corner of 12th Street and M-222.

Allegan County Commissioner Don Black said it’s his understanding from Road Commission Engineer-Manager Larry Brown that it will take $20,000 for the curb work or it won’t get done.

Martin Township Clerk Carrie Coburn noted that both Watson and Martin have signed work orders with their finncial commitments, “but we don’t have anything concrete from J & H.” She said she’d like to have a meeting with all parties in the project to firm up the commitments.

However, Township Supervisor Glenn Leep said Watson’s participation in such a meeting wouldn’t be necessary because it already has signed a work order, thereby making a written commitment, just like Martin.

“Martin is on the hook for $250,000 and Watson $150,000,” Leep said, noting that Jason Peterson and the motor sports park has pledged $80,000 of Martin’s total.

The supervisor said it’s his belief that J & H should be more enthusiastic about the project because it stands to benefit from a better road and a turning lane.

“It’ll be a very nice improvement for J & H,” he said. “I still believe it’s a good project and needs to be done.”

“But who is going to be stuck with overages (in costs)?” asked Coburn.

If the actual final cost comes to $425,000, for example, who would have to pick up the extra $30,000 over what has been committed?

The 0.9 mile on 12thStreet south from M-222 leads into Martin Motor Sports Park. The bridge over M-222 at the U.S.-131 expressway already is coming down and will be reconstructed by this June in time for the B-93 Birthday Bash at the motor speedway.

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