Ontwa Township leaders look forward to 2021

EDWARDSBURG — After a long 2020, leaders in the greater Edwardsburg area are looking forward to 2021.

Before the calendar switched over into 2021, Ontwa Township Supervisor Jerry Marchetti took a glance back at what Edwardsburg and Ontwa Township achieved in 2020 and what residents can look forward to in the new year.

The first accomplishment Marchetti listed was the completion of its connector path, a half-mile, non-motorized path that officials say has increased public safety and recreation. The trail, which begins at an existing pedestrian crosswalk at Claire Street, runs along the north side of US-12, connecting the village of Edwardsburg to the Edwardsburg Sports Complex. The project was a partnership between the Cass County Road Commission, the Edwardsburg Sports Complex, Ontwa Township, the Michigan Natural Resource Trust Fund and the Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Improvement Program.

Though the project was completed in late 2019, Marchetti said 2020 had proved the usefulness of the connector path.

“It has been well used and well accepted,” he said.

Marchetti looks forward to the installation of a pedestrian crossing at US-12 and Claire Street, which he said will make the connector path even safer. He expects the crossing to be installed within the next year.

Also in 2020, the township improved its parks by replacing tables and a canopy at Kraus Memorial Park.

In 2021, Marchetti is looking to improve area parks even further with the completion and adoption of Ontwa Township’s parks master plan, which can currently be viewed on the township website. The parks plan is expected to be voted on in January.

“It allows our township to access current conditions of our parks and current facilities and plan for the future recreation needs of our residents,” Marchetti said. “It also allows the township to apply for grant funding. … There are a lot of opportunities we are looking into for the next five years.”

Though the COVID-19 made the past year difficult for the township, Marchetti said he is proud of how the township responded. He said staff had worked hard to continue to served residents despite hardships and have updated the township website to make information easily accessible to those who need it.

“We do everything possible to make sure residents know everything that is going on within the township,” Marchetti said. “We are encouraging correspondence through the mail, the dropbox at our front door or by phone.”

Marchetti said the township plans to continue these efforts into 2021. Other plans for the new year include road work, installing new fire hydrants and continued parks work.

While the COVID-19 pandemic and concerns over state revenue sharing will remain going into 2021, Marchetti has high hopes the new year will be another successful one for the greater Edwardsburg area.

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