Keeler Township remembers late building inspector

Published 1:18 pm Wednesday, January 5, 2022

KEELER TOWNSHIP — The Keeler Township Board of Trustees meeting opened with a moment of silence Tuesday evening.

The board recognized the death of its building inspector Don Herter, 83, of Dowagiac, who died Dec. 16, 2021. Herter had spent more than 40 years serving as a township building inspector across many municipalities in Berrien, Cass and Van Buren counties. At the time of his death, Herter was serving as the building inspector in Keeler, Wayne and Pokagon townships.

For many years, Herter was on the construction team for the Donald C. Cook Nuclear plant. He was also involved in several community projects throughout his life, including the founding and building of Grace Christian School near Watervliet, where he served as a board member.

Keeler Township officials said they were feeling Herter’s loss and were thankful for the years they were able to spend working with him.

“We are thankful for his dedicated years of service,” said Township Supervisor Don Blackmond. “He went above and beyond in his job to help people. He was a great guy, and he will surely be missed. They don’t make them like that anymore.”

Later in the meeting, the board approved Scott Saunders to replace Herter in the position of building inspector. Prior to the meeting’s vote, Saunders had been serving as interim building inspector.

Clerk Carl Davis reported that Saunders will also be taking over Herter’s previous placements in other townships.

“[Saunders has] been doing a good job,” Blackmond said. “He has jumped right in and been very helpful. I think it will be a good fit for Keeler Township.”

Also Tuesday:

  • The board approved to engage Grand Rapids-based company Williams and Works in planning services regarding the township’s master plan development and zoning ordinance review. The cost of Williams and Works’ services is not to exceed $50,000.

Township Trustee Jerry Morin said Williams and Works came highly recommended by its references and that the planning commission believed the company was the right fit for the township’s needs.

Blackmond said he believes the plans the township and Williams and Works will be working on together will be important for the township’s future.

“We are looking at 20 years down the road,” he said. ‘Right now, we are seeing the spearhead of significant development. … There is the potential for uncontrolled growth if we don’t take the reins, and I think we really need to look seriously at the land we have and how we want to see it utilized in the future.”

  • The board voted to use American Rescue Plan Act dollars to fund broadband expansion and provide bonuses to first responders and election workers who were active throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. Remaining dollars will be used for the township’s building fund.