Stanton purchases land with eye on possible park

By Mike Taylor • Last Updated 12:38 pm on Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Stanton City Manager James Freed, left, displays a Google Earth image of a 6.2 acre parcel of land he recommended the city purchase, while Mayor Monica Tissue-Daws looks on. — Daily News/Mike Taylor

STANTON — Planning for a future in which Stanton has more “green space” and possibly sports fields, the City Commission voted Tuesday evening to approve the purchase of a 6.2 acre parcel of land currently owned by Central Montcalm Community Church.

The property, located near the church, is currently home to a nearly new pavilion, a small lake and some miscellaneous playground equipment. Though somewhat uneven at present, Stanton Village Manager James Freed believes the property could easily be converted to serve the city in any number of ways.

Explaining to commissioners why he was recommending the property’s purchase, Freed said the offer from the church was simply too good to ignore.

“The church agreed to sell the land for $40,000,” Freed said. “The chances of us finding 6.2 acres together in the city limits that’s flat enough to use for anything is pretty unusual. We could easily develop it with some chipping and turn it into a green space.”

Freed added that one possibility for the land involves filling in the pond, especially if it is manmade and not subject to Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) regulations.

Other potential uses mentioned by Freed include an outdoor community movie theater, sports fields and picnic site.

Once the city acquires the property, some of the playground equipment — that not up to current safety codes — will have to be removed. Also, Freed said, the small pond could be a liability because of safety and legal concerns. It could be filled in, however, over time, using scrap fill materials that are a by-product of other city projects.

Mayor Monica Tissue-Daws, who recently toured the site with Freed, echoed his sentiments that the land was too valuable to pass up.

“When you first drive in you think, ‘what’s back here?’ and then you see and say, ‘oh, so this is back here.’” Tissue-Daws said. “I don’t think it would take a lot level it off. It could be a soccer field.”

Stanton City Manager James Freed, right, discusses the purchase of a 6.2 acre parcel of land with City Commissioner Donald Smucker at Tuesday evening’s regular meeting. — Daily News/Mike Taylor

Commissioner Karl Yoder suggested the possibility of putting up a sign near the entrance pointing out the location of the park, once the site has been developed somewhat.

Freed noted the property could be a draw to persons considering a move to the area.

“When people decide where they want to live they look for good quality green space,” Freed said. “This would be nice. This is the best chunk of land we’re going to get and the price is right.”

The commission voted unanimously to purchase the property.

The commission also approved an investment not to exceed $25,000 for work on the drainage system at the intersection of Mill and Lake streets. Freed pointed out the repairs there would have to be made soon anyway, and the city could save a considerable sum of money by having the work done now, while the roads are already being worked on as part of a larger street renovation project.

Finally, commissioners approved Tissue-Daws recommendation to appoint Ray Halloway and Craig Barnes to the city’s planning commission. The appointment of the two men fills the planning commission back up to quorum level. Tissue-Daws added she hoped to add at least one more person to the planning commission in the near future.

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