Beach To Bayou Trail Project Will Not Impact Douglas Residents' County Drain Assessments
The City of Douglas’ ongoing project known as the Beach to Bayou Trail will not have any impact on what the Allegan County Drain Commission will assess local residents for the improvements and branch extension of the Warnock Drain District, announced city officials Monday night.
The trail is a paved, two-mile walking and bicycle path from Wade’s Bayou through downtown along Center Street to Lakeshore Drive and Douglas Beach at Lake Michigan.
Running along the north side of Center Street, the paved trail is not fully completed, starting at Wade’s Bayou and currently ending at the entrance to Wilderness Ridge subdivision.
Meant to help residents against the effects of stormwater and flooding, the proposed Warnock drainage improvement project will be built along the trail at Center Street and connect - running from west to east - to the existing drainage by Wilderness Ridge.
The existing drainage runs from south of Felker’s Subdivision; north, angling into Wilderness Ridge; underneath W. Center Street, slanting toward—and ending—at the Kalamazoo River.
“The cost of the Beach to Bayou trail project is the responsibility of the city; residents will not pay for a project that is the city’s,” Douglas City Manager Bill LeFevere said to Douglas council members, referring to the coordinated effort between Allegan County and the city relative to the proposed Warnock Drain and the ongoing trail.
In 2013, the then-Douglas Director of Community Development Ryan Kilpatrick, announced, “The upcoming project to improve the Warnock Drain along Center Street was a perfect opportunity for us to work together and reduce some of the construction and grading costs.”
He said that effort would cost $180,000 and require “significant cooperation with the Allegan County Drain Commissioner’s office.”
Well, that upcoming Warnock project took a while to get going because the county was working on legally obtaining property easements to move forward.
LeFevere’s comments Monday were in response to inquiries from council about letters from local residents to Allegan County Drain Commissioner Denise Medemar, expressing their concern about whether or not they were being fairly assessed for the drain project.
Residents sent the city copies of their concerns sent the drain commissioner.
The drain commission assesses residents according to a formula that determines the value each resident within a district is expected to receive from proposed improvements.
Residents within a district serviced by drainage improvements are legally expected to pay for those improvements per the Michigan Drain Code Public Act 40 of Public Works of 1956.