Citizen compliment county commission

The St. Joseph County Board of Commissioners was on the receiving end of compliments for its commitment to its parks and recreation department.

During the “Citizens Comments” portion of the Dec. 19 county commission meeting, a half dozen people approached the podium and complimented the board for a job well done in 2017.

The praise came in contrast to the board’s Dec. 5 meeting, during which it was criticized for agreeing to add one-quarter of a mill to the county’s tax rolls in 2018 to fund parks and recreation-related needs over the next four years. Commissioners explained the millage will keep more money in the county’s general fund.

Sturgis resident Steve Zarza thanked the five-member panel for its commitment to a strong parks system that includes improving water trails.

Jim Stuck, a Three Rivers-area resident, is a member of the River Country Recreation Authority Board.

He said the progress has been significant, as eight parks have been improved, 14 kayak/canoe launch sites have been added, improved parking has been made and restoration of the 1870s barn at the Covered Bridge Farm Park is the crown jewel.

Merritt Brown, who lives in Kalamazoo County’s Brady Township, said he’s been paddling St. Joseph County’s waterways the past 35 years. He said improvements at Null Road in Flowerfield Township and Withers Road in Constantine Township have not gone unnoticed.

He suggested the county consider developing more spots for launching and recovering canoes and kayaks.

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