Regional Recreations Pass will allow entrance to the Newaygo County and Mecosta County Park Systems
Newaygo and Mecosta County, MI: The Newaygo County Parks and Recreation Commission and Mecosta County Park Commission are joining forces to provide a Regional Recreation Pass in 2023 to give Park Visitors a way to enjoy both Park systems while saving $10. Each organization offers a $35 annual vehicle pass that gets visitors into their respective parks, but in 2023 those who want access to both park systems will have the option to buy one pass for $60.
Newaygo and Mecosta County Park Commissions have worked closely for the past 5+ years developing Michigan’s Dragon at Hardy Dam, a 40+ mile natural-surface multi-use trail system around Hardy Pond. This has increased demand by visitors who want to visit parks and trailheads operated by both entities.
“Since starting the Dragon Project, there have been many requests for a joint pass allowing access into multiple trailheads, working together we found it best to showcase both park systems and create a pass that gets people into all of our parks, not just those around the Dragon Trail and Hardy Pond,” said Newaygo County Parks Director Nick Smith.
The Regional Recreation Pass will provide visitors access to five Mecosta County Parks and seven Newaygo County Parks, two of which in each county are official trailheads for the Dragon Trail. “Both of our park systems offer a wide variety of amenities such as boat launches, beaches, trails, playgrounds, campgrounds, day-use areas, and additional opportunities. We hope that visitors who have traditionally frequented just one park system will consider progressing to a regional pass to evaluate what the neighboring park system can add to their recreational experience.” Said Jeff Abel, Mecosta County Parks Superintendent.
Both Park Commissions offer various outdoor recreational opportunities, many of which are along the Muskegon River, including Hardy Pond. Campers, boaters, trail users, and visitors can still purchase a traditional annual vehicle permit from either county or invest in the new regional recreation pass and expand their recreational options while saving money.
Since the COVID-19 pandemic, both County Park systems have seen an influx of visitors to the Parks, which has increased the use of their recreational facilities. Both agencies are self-funded, paying for park operations and improvement through the sale of vehicle permits and campsites; they hope that teaming up will increase revenue. “We are unique agencies since we are self-funded. Most Park and Rec agencies around the state rely on tax dollars to operate, whereas we rely on sales to operate and improve. We hope this will increase sales to continue improving our park facilities and offerings for our park customers and residents.” Said, Director Smith.
Starting in late December 2022, the 2023 Regional Recreation Passes will go on sale. At that time, park visitors can buy the pass over the phone or in person at each Park Administrative Office or through one of the many self-registration stations throughout both park systems. Please follow Mecosta County Parks and Newaygo County Parks on Facebook to learn when Regional Recreation Pass sales start. When the campgrounds open for the season, Regional Recreation Passes can also be purchased at campground offices.
ABOUT The Regional Recreation Pass
The Newaygo/Mecosta Regional Recreation Pass is an annual motor vehicle permit allowing access to all parks and properties owned or operated by the Mecosta and Newaygo County Park Commissions. Vehicle passes are required to enter parks in both Counties as these organizations rely on vehicle passes and other sales for their parks' operation, maintenance, and improvement. Newaygo County Parks can be reached at 231.689.7340, and Mecosta County Parks can be reached at 231.832.3246.
Bridge Work In Newaygo On Tuesday
From our friends at MDOT:
Lane closures for road work are scheduled for tomorrow (Tuesday) from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. on M-37 at Croton Drive/M-82 (Curve Street).
The work is weather dependent.
An Exemplary Program
Newaygo County PAT Receives National Recognition
Newaygo County Parents as Teachers has earned a prestigious endorsement from Parents as Teachers National Center, Inc., (PATNC) as a Blue-Ribbon Affiliate, making it one of the top-performing home visiting affiliates within Parents as Teachers’ international network.
The official designation was made October 24, 2022. Being named a Blue-Ribbon Affiliate affirms that Newaygo County Parents as Teachers is a high-quality member of the home visiting field, implementing the evidence-based Parents as Teachers model with fidelity. Families in the community are positively impacted by the services delivered by this program. The program includes home visits, group connections, child screening, and connections to community resources. It equips parents with knowledge and resources to prepare their children for a stronger start in life and greater success in school.
“To earn the Blue-Ribbon Endorsement, we underwent a rigorous 15-month quality endorsement and improvement process, self-study and review from the National Center. The process confirms that we are meeting Parents as Teachers’ standards of fidelity and quality,” said Karen Clark, supervisor of the Parents as Teachers program. “Blue-Ribbon Affiliates are exemplary programs, delivering the highest quality services to children and families.”
The Newaygo County team will be recognized in October 2023 at the International Parents as Teachers Conference in New Orleans, Louisiana. Newaygo County Parents as Teachers is overseen by NC RESA and funded by grants through the Fremont Area Community Foundation and the Michigan Department of Education.
Parents as Teachers (PAT) builds strong communities, thriving families, and children that are healthy, safe, and ready to learn. Our home visiting model is a proven and effective program that shows:
• Children’s developmental delays and health problems are detected early.
• Children enter kindergarten ready to learn, and the achievement gap is narrowed.
• Children achieve school success into the elementary grades.
• Parents improve their parenting knowledge and skills.
• Parents are more involved in their children’s schooling.
• Families are more likely to promote children’s language and literacy.
• It prevents child abuse and neglect.
Newaygo County Parents as Teachers has four experienced parent educators that serve approximately 100 families (prenatal – kindergarten) through monthly home visits. Each personal visit includes a focus on parent-child interaction, development centered parenting, and family well-being. For more information, or to enroll in the program, please call 231-652-3843.
Owe State Taxes? Scammer Alert!
Fraudsters Using Fake Letters in Collections Scam
LANSING, Mich. – Michigan taxpayers with past-due tax debts should be aware of an aggressive scam making the rounds through the U.S. Postal Service, according to the Michigan Department of Treasury (Treasury).
In the scheme, taxpayers receive a letter about an overdue tax bill that requests individuals to immediately contact a toll-free number to resolve an outstanding state tax debt. The letter aggressively threatens to seize a taxpayer’s property — including bank accounts, wages, business assets, cars, real estate, refunds and cash — if the debt is not settled.
“We recently received reports about taxpayers receiving these fake letters in the mail,” said Deputy State Treasurer Glenn White, who oversees Treasury’s Revenue Services programs. “Taxpayers have rights. If you have questions about an outstanding state tax debt, please contact us through a verified number so we can talk about options.”
The piece of correspondence appears credible to the taxpayer because it uses specific personal facts pulled directly from publicly available information. The scammer’s letter attempts to lure the taxpayer into a situation where they could make a payment to a criminal.
The state Treasury Department corresponds with taxpayers through official letters that use state of Michigan letterhead that embody both the names of the governor and state treasurer. These official letters are sent through the U.S. Postal Service, provide several options to resolve an outstanding debt and outline taxpayer rights.
Taxpayers who receive a letter from a scammer or have questions about their state debts should call Treasury’s Collections Service Center at 517-636-5265. A customer service representative can log the scam, verify outstanding state debts and provide flexible payment options.
A Dedication To Excellence
Departments Recognized for Achieving National Training Goals
Newaygo County, MI. – On Tuesday, October 19, 2022 six public safety departments from across Newaygo County were recognized for achieving one hundred percent compliance with training goals set by the National Incident Management System.
Fremont Police Department, Fremont Fire Department, Newaygo Fire Department, Grant Police Department, White Cloud Police Department, and Newaygo County Central Dispatch were recognized by the Newaygo County Local Emergency Planning Team for achieving a training goal very difficult to do – obtaining one hundred percent compliance with the National Incident Management System (NIMS) training requirements.
Established in 2003, as a result of the horrific incidents which took place on September 11, 2001, the National Incident Management System is a comprehensive, national approach to incident management for all emergencies regardless of size, location, or complexity. NIMS is applicable to any organization that is involved in preparing for, responding to, and recovering from an emergency. It provides a common standard, based on best practices, enabling a wide variety of organizations to effectively work together to manage an incident.
Newaygo County Emergency Services is charged with promoting and tracking NIMS compliancy throughout Newaygo County. On an annual basis, Newaygo County Emergency Services submits a compliancy report to the Michigan State Police Emergency Management and Homeland Security Division. In order to achieve and maintain compliancy, each agency is required to adopt NIMS via resolution, have at least 75% of staff trained to the appropriate level based on their position and responsibilities, and include NIMS in plans, policies, procedures, and guidelines.
There are two levels of training requirements under the National Incident Management System, basic training and supervisor training. All personnel involved in incident management are required to meet basic training requirements. These requirements include three training courses IS-700: An introduction to the National Incident Management System, IS-100: Introduction to the Incident Command System (ICS), and IS-200:Basic Incident Command System for Initial Response. In total these courses are 10 hours in length. Any personnel in supervisory roles and leadership positions are also required to take an additional 43 hours of advanced training. These requirements include three additional training courses, IS-800: National Response Framework, an introduction, ICS-300: Intermediate ICS for Expanding Incidents, and ICS-400: Advanced ICS for Complex Incidents.
“The six departments recognized by the Local Emergency Planning Team were recognized for their dedication to excellence and commitment to the communities they serve,” stated Newaygo County Emergency Services Director Abby Watkins. “There are a vast number of standards and requirements public safety agencies are required to maintain. During a time when these agencies are struggling to hire and retain personnel, their ability to achieve one hundred percent compliancy with this requirement is truly remarkable.”
NIMS compliancy is a community-wide effort. All public safety departments within Newaygo County strive annually to maintain seventy five percent compliance. The Emergency Services Department would like to thank all the jurisdictions and agencies who have worked together and taken the time to host training, pass a NIMS resolution, and implement the NIMS. By working together, we will help to ensure the safety and security of Newaygo County and all those in which we serve.
Lunch & Learn For Businesses
Business Resource Events Coming To Newaygo County
WHITE CLOUD, MICH- This week, the Newaygo County Economic Development Partnership (NCEDP) announced the launch of a new lunch and learn series beginning Wednesday, October 26th.
The monthly series is scheduled to run through May of 2023 and will highlight various support opportunities that local businesses can take advantage of. Topics will vary each month, focusing on resources that support talent attraction & retention, training grants & resources, small business support and increasing sales channels. Locations for the events will rotate around Newaygo County and include a boxed lunch. Seating will be limited, in order to ensure the attendees are able to fully capitalize on the resource.
“The amount of support available can be overwhelming, and our hope with this series is to hone in on specific resources and tailor the information to Newaygo County employers,” said Julie Burrell, Economic Development Director for NCEDP. “Our hope is, this format will allow for additional businesses to take advantage of the resources available to them.”
October’s event, held at the Newaygo Michigan Works offices will feature Kelsey Rhoda, Program Director from the Muskegon Area Procurement and Technical Assistance Center. She shared “government contracting can be an intimidating topic of discussion. The PTAC program is designed to assist businesses in understanding how to work with the government, and show businesses it can be done and built into their business plan.” Kelsey will break down how businesses can position themselves to win government contracts, in addition to assisting business leaders with obtaining certifications like woman or veteran owned.
This series will occur on the fourth Wednesday of each month in October and November 2022 and kick off again in January through May 2023.
To register for this or subsequent events, contact Julie Burrell at email@example.com or visit https://www.newaygocountymi.gov/economic-development/news/.
About The Newaygo County Economic Development Partnership.
The Newaygo County Economic Development Partnership, powered by The Right Place, is an advisory board under the Newaygo County Board of Commissioners and is responsible for oversight and leadership of economic development in Newaygo County.
Event Honors Women in Leadership Roles
Gathering honors three who lead
On Wednesday October 12, over 100 folks from throughout the county witnessed three awards given to local women who have excelled in their leadership roles.
The event drew double the attendance from last year according to Rachel Porter of the River Country Chamber. Among the presenters were Karen Baird of the Fremont Chamber, Julie Burrell of The Right Place and recipient of the first award given last fall, and Shelley Kasprzycki, President and CEO of the Fremont Area Community Foundation.
Keynote Speaker for the luncheon was Keleigh Grim, CEO of Haven Design Build.
While there were many fine choices among the 14 nominees, Nicole Klomp was the recipient of the Emerging Leader award, Lola Harmon Ramsey took home the Community Leader award and Tara Nelson was chosen as Overall Woman in Business.
Klomp who collaborated with the Newaygo Police Department to develop the position of Police Social Worker, had colleagues from the NPD as well as city leaders on hand to support her including mayor Ed Fedell and Police Chief Georgia Andres.
“While humbled to receive the award I helped develop this position not for the recognition but because of what I saw as a need throughout the community.”
Harmon-Ramsey exemplifies the role of community leader. A successful businesswoman, Ms. H-R is also on the board of the Fremont Area Community Foundation with a seat on the Executive Committee as well as serving on the Fremont City Council.
“With so many great candidates it is truly an honor to be recognized. I’m grateful for the opportunity to be part of the work being done by the Foundation and the city of Fremont.”
Nelson, Executive Director of the NC Prevention of Child Abuse had a huge hand in helping create the facility that hosted the event. The programming of PCA reaches youth throughout our area with efforts aimed at protecting our most valuable resource, our children.
“Thanks to the River Country Chamber for hosting a day centered around the accomplishments of women. It’s an honor to be on a team with empowering women who make me want to be better every day.”
Kudos to the River Country Chamber, the Fremont Chamber, the Newaygo Economic Development Partners and the Fremont Foundation for this celebratory collaboration aimed at recognizing the vision and drive of these women who have inherited the mantle of leadership from those who came before.
Their predecessors who blazed the trail through determination and an unwillingness to be silenced gave birth to the impressive assembly that came together at this event.
And for that, they should be proud.
Pinched poachers face fines; Families score some salmon
An angler’s tip helped Michigan Department of Natural Resources conservation officers recover more than 460 pounds of illegally taken salmon from an out-of-state fishing group on the Manistee River this week. The group went away with far less than they caught, while the officers were able to safely donate the poached fish to local families in Manistee County.
“There is a large amount of coho and Chinook salmon running the local rivers this time of year, attracting anglers from across the country to be a part of one of Michigan’s finest fishing adventures,” said the DNR’s Sgt. Grant Emery. “While we’ve seen a decrease in illegal fishing activity over the years, unfortunately, we still run into illegal and unconventional methods.”
Conservation Officers Josiah Killingbeck, who patrols Lake County, and Scott MacNeill, who patrols Manistee County, were conducting a fish patrol Tuesday along the Manistee River, near the Tippy Dam in Dickson Township when an angler approached and informed them about a group downriver using illegal methods and equipment to take fish. The officers located and observed the group, confirming the tip.
When Killingbeck and MacNeill contacted the group, several of them attempted to break off their fishing lines so the officers wouldn't see the illegal fishing gear they were using. Officers interviewed the group and determined that the anglers, who had traveled from Colorado, did not have valid fishing licenses, were using illegal tackle and possessed 17 salmon taken by an illegal method.
The group willingly admitted their illegal activity and led Killingbeck and MacNeill back to their vehicles in the parking lot, where they had an additional 40-50 fish in coolers – some of the fish had already been filleted.
The group, if properly licensed, legally would have been allowed to possess 30 fish total; the total amount of illegal fish in the group’s possession weighed 463 pounds.
“It’s a shame that this group invested so much time and money to travel all the way to Michigan only to illegally take these salmon, a valuable, public natural resource,” Emery said. “We are grateful for the angler who approached Killingbeck and MacNeill, which allowed them to recover the fish with enough time to safely donate to local families in need.”
The individuals received citations for using illegal methods to take an over limit of salmon and fishing without a fishing license. Combined, they face more than $4,630 in restitution and additional costs.
They have until Oct. 21 to contact the 85th District Court in Manistee County for arraignment. The DNR is not releasing names prior to arraignment.
Michigan conservation officers are fully commissioned law enforcement officers who provide natural resources protection, ensure recreational safety and protect citizens by providing general law enforcement duties and lifesaving operations in the communities they serve. Learn more at Michigan.gov/ConservationOfficers.
Last February Spectrum Health and Beaumont Health came together to form a new health care system. As of this week that new system officially has a name.
The organization sent out a press release Tuesday announcing the change.
“At our core, we are here to help people be well so they can live their healthiest life possible,” said Tina Freese Decker, President & CEO, Corewell Health. “We recognize the amazing outcomes and history from Beaumont Health and Spectrum Health. Now together, known as Corewell Health, we move forward unified, focused on health and wellness for all. The name selection is especially inspiring as it was influenced by thousands of ideas from our team members who put health and wellness at the core of everything we do.”
The 14 hospitals across West Michigan that have been under the Spectrum umbrella will also undergo name changes as our local facility in Fremont has now become Corewell Health Gerber Hospital.
Along with the name change a new logo has been unveiled blending in the existing colors used by the two organizations along with Priority Health
“The Corewell Health logo reflects the increasingly synergistic relationship between health care and health coverage, and our ongoing commitment to continuously improve the health of the communities we serve,” said Julie Fream, Chair, Corewell Health System Board of Directors.
A planned rollout of the new name that includes signage will begin soon and be phased over the next two years.
Celebrating The Women Who Lead
Women Leadership Luncheon Coming Wednesday
Last year while on the staff of River Country Chamber Kamille Massey had an idea for an event that would shine a spotlight on the number of women in our community who are part of the driving force for positive change. The Influential Women in Business Luncheon received rave reviews and while Ms. Massey has moved on to other opportunities the event is getting the first of what is hoped are many encores.
Sponsored by the Fremont Area Community Foundation, ChoiceOne Bank, Edward Jones The Scott Swinehart Agency, and LIsa Lightfoot Realtor at Coldwell Banker Schmidt, the Second Annual Luncheon focuses on Women in Leadership and will be held this Wednesday, October 12th at the Center for Hope and Healing in White Cloud.
Fourteen local women have been nominated and two will be named winners in the categories of Community Leader and Emerging Leader.
But each of the 14 on the nominated list are winners as they help shape the future of our county.
“It is exciting to celebrate leaders who do so much for the community,” said Shelly Kasprzycki, President and CEO of the Fremont Area Community Foundation. “There are so many women leaders in Newaygo County that elevate our collective success.”
Last year Julie Burrell of The Right Place was selected for the honor and spoke about what the award meant to her.
“As I began my career in more urban counties to our south, I always admired the women who were fortunate enough to be included in the leadership circles and truly admired those recognized for their work through these types of events. Returning home to Newaygo County, I always hoped we’d have a chance to lift up the amazing women who have such impactful roles in our communities, and now we have this amazing opportunity! The Women in Leadership event has been immensely impactful for me, as its inaugural award recipient of ‘most influential’, and I am honored to be a part of the event going forward to recognize and celebrate so many more women.”
Want to attend? Details can be found in the link below.
“Kamille had a vision for this,” said Rachael Porter, RCC Community Relations. “We are hoping our collaboration with Fremont Area Chamber of Commerce, Fremont Area Community Foundation and the Newaygo Economic Development Partners will do it justice.”
And the nominees are:
AMY STOCKWELL, WHITE CLOUD LIBRARY DIRECTOR
APRIL STORMS, WHITE CLOUD CITY MANAGER
DARCIE WITTE, FIFTH THIRD BANK, PERSONAL BANKER
DIANE SCHINDLBECK, SCHINDY'S AT DIAMOND LAKE, CEO
JALISA DANHOF, CAMP NEWAYGO DIRECTOR
JENIFER FORT, VICE PRESIDENT & HEAD OF PUBLIC RELATIONS, NEWAYGO GHOSTBUSTERS
KELLY WAWSCZYK, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, MECOSTA COUNTY DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION
LISA LIGHTFOOT, REALTOR AT COLDWELL BANKER SCHMIDT
LOLA HARMON-RAMSEY, DIRECTOR OF ADVOCACY & COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT, AMERICAN CLASSIC
MANDA HAMPLE, NCRESA, COSMETOLOGY INSTRUCTOR
MARY RANGEL, DHD#10, WIC TECH
MELISSA MILLER, NCRESA SUPERVISOR OF EARLY COLLEGE & STUDENT SUCCESS SERVICES
NICOLE KLOMP, NEWAYGO POLICE DPT SOCIAL WORKER
TARA NELSON, NCPCA EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
Newaygo County Wants You!
Well, that is if you’re qualified to fill one of the positions currently open at one of our area’s top employers.
Got an accounting or finance background and looking to be part of a dynamic team assisting in the budgeting and accounting aspects of our county government? Newaygo County Administration has a spot for you. The position of Deputy Finance Director could be the right fit for an experienced numbers person who enjoys working in a team setting.
The seemingly eternal television show Law and Order begins with “In the criminal justice system, the people are represented by two separate yet equally important groups: The police, who investigate crime, and the district attorneys, who prosecute the offenders.”
Ever thought about being a part of the second group? The Prosecutor’s Office is in need of a Legal Secretary. What they're looking for is a well organized, highly motivated person with excellent customer service and office skills. On site training will be part of the job.
Speaking of the criminal justice system, what might be your thoughts about becoming a Corrections Officer? The selected candidate will work in a professional and disciplined environment where teamwork is valued and expected. Ideal candidates will demonstrate integrity and honesty, the ability to remain calm under pressure, and the ability to de-escalate conflict and volatile situations.
This one is a part time gig but it’s an opportunity to see if you possess the right kind of skills to do the work without committing to it full time.
Like a fast paced and multitasking type of job? Here’s the rundown on the Deputy Court Clerk position
The selected candidate will work in a legal, fast-paced office setting greeting visitors at the counter, answering phones, receipting money, assisting legal and law enforcement professionals on court matters, and performing varied clerical functions. That said, good customer service skills, attention to detail, and proficiency with computers are a must! While the ideal candidate will have some knowledge and experience with court procedures, there are opportunities to learn on the job.
The Commission on Aging has some part time positions that would be ideal for the right person. You can be a Meal Site Host assisting in the planning and overseeing the socialization and activities at community meal sites and other satellite meal locations. Or maybe try your hand at being a Homemaker. A paid one. These folks go into the homes of older adults, perform a little light cleaning but more importantly do a bit of socializing while there.
Skills include a passion for helping others.
There are many other positions available that may pique your interest. The county is a cool place to work and offers competitive pay, great benefits and opportunities for career growth if desired.
Here’s the link to get the skinny on those above as well as all positions currently open.
Big News For Big Rapids
Game Changing Facility to make its home in Mecosta County?
Update!! To support the company’s transformational investment, the Michigan Strategic Fund today approved:
-A Critical Industry Program grant through the Strategic Outreach and Attraction Reserve (“SOAR”) Fund in the amount of $125 million for the creation of up to 2,350 jobs in the Big Rapids area;
-A 30-year MSF-designated Renaissance Zone to Mecosta County valued at $540 million;
-A $50 million Strategic Site Readiness Program performance-based grant through the SOAR Fund will be administered by The Right Place to assist with infrastructure improvement.
There is big news out of Mecosta County where the construction of a multi-billion dollar battery component plant was given the green light by local governments last Monday night. Green and Big Rapids townships voted unanimously to approve a Renaissance Zone designation for property in the Industrial Park along with other adjoining property and the County Commission followed up with approving the application for the Ren Zone resolution to be sent to the state.
The joint meeting of the three governing bodies drew a large crowd that was overwhelmingly supportive of the initiative. Gotion, Inc., a subsidiary of Guoxuan High-Tech Co.and one of the world’s largest manufacturers of the batteries chose the county out of 40 possible locations in North America. The Big Rapids area is one of two potential sites for the project, according to Gotion CEO Chuck Thelen.
The proposed plant would mean jobs. Lots of jobs.
The company projects 300-500 positions once the plant opens with over 2000 to be added over the next decade which would make them the largest employer in the region.
“We are encouraged to receive support from Green Charter Township, Big Rapids Charter Township and Mecosta County regarding the Renaissance Zone designation for Gotion’s multi-billion-dollar investment in the area,” said The Right Place CEO Randy Thelen. “ As well, we applaud all our community partners who have invested time and resources to champion this effort. There are still numerous steps to be taken before this project becomes a certainty, but this is a terrific start toward positioning the region at the center of West Michigan’s growing mobility and EV sector.”
The next step involves bringing the Ren Zone proposal to the Michigan Strategic Fund board to vote on an incentive package for the company. The MSF is scheduled to vote on the proposal October 5th. With that approval would come a commitment from the state for providing assistance for the needed infrastructure a facility of this magnitude would require with roads, sewers, water, etc.
Mecosta County Board of Commissioners Chair Bill Routley sees the project as being a true game changer for the region.
“This will be great for all of our surrounding counties. It looks to be a huge income generator for our families and they project the income for manufacturing workers will average around $60,000 a year. And of course there will be a lot of tech jobs involved as well.
“Gotion is also strongly committed to using local contractors so if there are any that need work there will be plenty of it.”
Routley had high praise for the organizations that came together to help make this happen and singled out the collaboration of the townships and county boards.
“The number one victory here was to watch the two townships and county come together on this. That alone was great to see.”