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AI- 3319   12. B. 1.    
BOC Regular
Meeting Date: 09/17/2020  
Approval of a Lease of Ardmoor Park with The Charter Township of Bedford
FROM: Jim Dyer, Corporation Counsel, Corporation Counsel
Department: Corporation Counsel  

Information
RESOLUTION:
Resolved, that the Calhoun County Board of Commissioners does approve the lease of Ardmoor Park to the Charter Township of Bedford, as presented. 
RECOMMENDATION:
The resolution permits the renewal, until March 15, of 2045, of an expired lease for an existing park, on property acquired by the County when it dissolved the Calhoun County Road Commission. The lease is necessary to permit Bedford Township to improve the existing equipment and secure insurance coverage for any local programming it might schedule in the future.

The proposed lease was drafted by the Calhoun County Corporation Counsel, it addressees issues important to the County yet gives the Township the ability to move forward with its plans to improve Ardmoor park as a local recreational asset. The lease was approved by the Bedford Township Board, and signed by the Township Supervisor and Clerk. The Calhoun County Community Development Department recommends approval of the proposed lease as presented.
 
BACKGROUND:
Ardmoor Park is in Bedford Township. It is located in the Orchard Park subdivision, which combined with the Morgan Woods and Goodale Farms subdivisions, forms a very dense residential neighborhood west of North Avenue and stretching between Goodale Avenue to the south and Morgan Road to the north.

When the Orchard Park Subdivision was created several outlots, including Outlot B where the existing Ardmoor Park is located, were dedicated to the Calhoun County Road Commission for use as "drainage parks." Outlot B is a rather large parcel, 4.68 acres total. It is forested and quite low to the north, with an existing drainage easement entering the northwest corner of Outlot B and running along its northern boundary. It is mostly level and bare to the south. Based on the topography, this area must have been considered as unbuildable by the standards in place in 1958 when the subdivision was created. A GIS photograph of the entire Outlot B is attached as an exhibit.

On September 13, 1965, the Calhoun County Road Commission leased the Southern part of Outlot B to Bedford Township "for public park and recreational purposes." The lease was for a term of 25 years, and would have expired in 1990. Bedford Township believes that the lease was extended, but neither the Township, nor the County can locate such a written extension. It is possible that an informal verbal extension was granted, or the parties agreed to terms of an extension that were never actually reduced to writing. This was discovered in the fall of 2019, when Bedford Township was making plans to either expand activities at the park, or remove old playground equipment which had become more hazardous than suitable for playground use. 

In light of the long term use of the property as a local neighborhood park, and recognizing that its use as a county wide park was not indicated, we began discussing a renewal of the 1965 lease to give the Township a clear property interest in and permit them to acquire equipment and begin programming in their own name. 
 
The proposed lease follows the pattern of the 1965 lease. It maintains the same boundaries as the 1965 lease, keeping the wooded area to the north out of the Townships use. It requires the Township to assume responsibility for all park improvements and to assume liability and hold Calhoun County harmless for its use. It also preserves the Township's obligation not to fill in the low areas of Outlot B that currently function as drainage area. Essentially, this would prevent the Township from expanding the size of the park to much beyond its current boundaries without County approval. The lease does add a few provisions; notably, all playground equipment installed must meet current safety and ADA standards, provisions that did not even exist back in 1965. The lease also gives the County the right, but not the obligation, to assume ownership of any playground equipment should the Township decide to discontinue park operations. Finally there is an option to extend the lease for an additional 25 years, until 2070, based on mutual consent.  
ALTERNATIVES:
As suggested by the Commission. Approval of the resolution is necessary to MCL 46.11 (c), which allows for the Board of Commission to, " Authorize the sale or lease of real estate belonging to the county, and prescribe the manner in which a conveyance of the real estate is to be executed."  
SUMMARY:
It is recommended that the Calhoun County Board of Commissioners approve the proposed lease of Ardmoor Park to the Charter Township of Bedford, as presented.

Fiscal Impact
BUDGETARY IMPACT:
None anticipated. There is no direct cost to the County associated with approving the proposed lease. Bedford Township is responsible for the construction of any improvemnets, and must hold the County harmless from all clams that might arise out of the use of the property or installed equipmemt.
Attachments
Proposed Lease
Bedford Township Resolution Approving the Propsed Lease
GIS View of Ardmoor Park

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