Friends of St. Clair

On September 18, 2014 the Binational Public Advisory Council for the St. Clair River hosted a very successful symposium in Port Huron, Michigan titled “The St. Clair River – Bridging the Environment and Economy”. 

The speakers shared interesting and insightful research and perspectives on the progress toward delisting the St. Clair River Area of Concern. Symposium presentations are now available online.  Please visit the Friends of the St. Clair River website at:www.friendsofstclair.ca/www/news.html.


Control and Management of Invasive Phragmites

The recently updated Guide to the Control and Management of Invasive Phragmites, Third Edition is now available for download at http://www.michigan.gov/aquaticinvasives (scroll down to Hot Topics, click on Phragmites).  As with past editions of the Guide, funding assistance for this 3rd edition was provided, in part, by the Coastal Zone Management Program. 


Cottrellville road, ditch work improve quality of life in township

Friday, January 10, 2014
By Jeri Packer
Staff Writer

Cottrellville Supervisor Kelly Lisco was recently appointed to the Township Roads and Bridges Advisory Committee for St. Clair County. Now she will get to know the ins and outs of this important part of running a municipality.

Lisco admits she is still a little green when it comes to township infrastructure matters, but says she is quick to learn.

"I will gain more experience and knowledge of road conditions and the costs involved and also the cost to maintain the roads," Lisco said. "Not just for my township; I will have more of a say for outside of Cottrellville too."

The committee's purpose is to "consider and deal by all lawful means the common problems involved in the construction, maintenance, improvement and repair of roads and bridges under the jurisdiction of St. Clair County Road Commission."

She has already scored on one project near to her heart, the dilapidated Shea Road, 4.2 miles of dirt and gravel rife with potholes. Lisco said the biggest road complaint she receives from Cottrellville residents is about Shea. She made it a mission to get the entire road paved, but it is a county road, so her hands were tied. Luckily, the state legislature released $4.1 million in road funds to the St. Clair County Road Commission, said managing director Kirk Weston, and part of it is allocated for Shea Road.

"It’s just not safe," Lisco said. "When you hit some of the bumps, you go off the road. It's a wonder your teeth don't fall out, it's so bumpy."

The road commission had Shea on its list of road repairs for this year, but only from Marsh to Starville roads, leaving the rest for a later project.

Lisco wasn't happy.

"I told them, 'what's the point?'" she explained. "Then you've got half always under construction for repairs. I want to get Shea Road paved all the way down."

"It will be one of our 2014 projects," Weston said.

Cottrellville residents along Short Cut Road, west of Marsh are living high and dry now, thanks to a visit from the county drain commission. The homes were flooding and complaints were coming in regularly at the township office until Lisco finally came back with St. Clair County Drain Commissioner Bob Wiley. Lisco said it hadn’t been dug out in 65 years. The township paid $16,000 to get the work done.

"It made a huge difference," she said.

Lisco said they had $9,000 left from the allocated $20,000 for work on Elizabeth and they were going to apply that amount to the north side of Bruce Street, as well. Both sides are scheduled for work in the spring.

Clarence Ward of Bruce Street, off King Road, is waiting for the spring to get relief from his flooding problems. He was looking at huge mounds of piled-up snow and wondering where the water was going to go when it thawed. The township has already ditched out neighboring Elizabeth Street, which should be of some help. Bruce is on the list of street projects for the spring.

Another bonus is that Don Chopp, the property owner on King Road at Bruce just had his ditch cleaned out and a larger culvert put in. He decided to get the work done after he heard about the water problems happening on Bruce. Chopp paid to get the ditch cleaned out himself.

"It's going to help everybody," he said.

Lisco is hoping that, as her experience grows, she will be able to help others with their street nightmares.

"Not having any millage money, we have to make the best decisions we can," said Lisco. "Everybody’s concerns are valid, but you have to weigh it by how many people it will help. I try to spend money wisely to improve people’s quality of life."

Contact Jeri Packer at (586) 716-8100, ext 302; jeri.packer@voicenews.com or on Twitter @JeriPacker.

St Clair County Road Commission Gets $4.1 million from state for road improvements

By Jeri Packer, Staff Writer

Michigan legislators announced last month that state and local transportation projects across the state would be funded by a $115 million state Roads and Risks Reserve Fund.

The St. Clair County Road Commission received a sizeable chunk of money from the state fund. The commission was awarded $4.1 million to be used for projects in its transportation plan. The Michigan Department of Transportation received the bulk of the grant and will be busy improving roads from Saginaw to Jackson counties to Roscommon.

"This is fantastic news and a great first step toward improving our roads," said Michigan Senate Majority Leader Randy Richardville. "Three years of sound budget decisions and living within our means has made it possible to direct existing resources toward our roads. Instead of seeking new revenue, we were able to tighten our belts and fund priority projects throughout the state."

Kirk Weston, road commission managing director, said because of the grant, the county will be paving all 4.2 miles of Shea Road in Cottrellville Township and partly in Ira Township. The county already had budgeted into their Transportation Improvement Plan for about two miles of Shea Road, from Palms to Starville roads, paid for by the road commission millage and some federal aid. But now they will be able to pave from Marsh Road all the way to Palms Road, said Weston. Other county roads scheduled for an asphalt overlay are Palms Road from Lindsey to Marine City Highway; Field Road from Lindsey to Marine City Highway and St. Clair Highway, west from King Road 2.5 miles.

"All the legislators worked very hard for this," said Weston. "Generally, we don't see this kind of money."

Projects in the Transportation Improvement Plan are listed on the county road commission website at sccrc-roads.org under "projects." The plan extends to 2017. Weston said the project plan will be updated by next week. Capac Road from Interstate 69 to County Line may be up on the list.

Cottrellville Township Supervisor Kelly Lisco campaigned hard for the Shea Road improvements.

"This is my Christmas present," she said.

Contact Jeri Packer at (586) 716-8100, ext 302; jeri.packer@voicenews.com or on Twitter @JeriPacker.