Rick Freeman of ROWE Professional Services Company spoke during the June 24 meeting of the Oscoda Township Board of Trustees. He gave updates on both the municipal services center project, as well as Phase I of the township’s water main extension efforts.

OSCODA – The June 24 meeting of the Oscoda Township Board of Trustees, among other business, featured updates on two pending projects in the community.

Attendees heard from Rick Freeman, principal/vice president of ROWE Professional Services Company, which has been working with the township on both of the undertakings – including Phase I work for the water main extension project.

He first shared details on the revised proposal and schedule for the township needs assessment regarding municipal buildings.

As reported, trustees have discussed the concept of a consolidated municipal services center at Furtaw Field, with the idea being to possibly house the township offices, police station, fire hall, library, community center and senior center all at one central location.

Freeman added that another potential inclusion is an on-site training area for police and fire department personnel.

Township officials voted in June to utilize the services of ROWE on the beginning steps of the process, with the company offering a quote of $53,080 to complete several tasks. However, trustees opted not to engage in the facility needs assessment portion, bringing the total to $40,480.

According to the proposal from ROWE, Oscoda has numerous old and aging buildings, many of which are underutilized and in need of repair or renovation. The township is seeking assistance in determining the best course of action regarding these facilities, including renovation needs and the potential for consolidation or relocation of facilities and services.

Freeman said ROWE plans to complete the services under their existing, as-needed engineering contract with the township.

For this assignment, he added that the company will be teaming with WTA Architects of Saginaw, which ROWE has worked closely with on a variety of projects throughout the years.

It was during the latest board meeting when Freeman updated officials on the project, saying a revised schedule has been prepared, as well as the tasks to be completed during the two phases which were approved – one being a space needs assessment.

For this, the company intends to accomplish the following:

• Meet with township officials to determine space needs, objectives, expectations and schedule.

• Meet with and interview various department staff and leadership, including police, fire, senior center and library employees, to determine space needs and priorities.

• Perform code review for relevant building and energy code requirements.

• Prepare a written program on space requirements.

• Prepare space analysis and relationship diagrams.

Freeman said this information will be considered when looking at the standards across the board, as far as how townships similar to Oscoda operate, to come up with a conceptual layout of a new, revised municipal building.

He shared a rough, conceptual rendering of the building layout on Furtaw Field, noting that space, parking and other elements are not yet incorporated as he wanted to give just a general idea of what a facility may look like at this location.

Based on the rough depiction, the Paul Bunyan feature will still be included in the design. The police and fire buildings are shown on one side of the property, and the remaining buildings on the other, with parking around the structures.

Trustee Jim Baier asked if the facility will be a two-story building.

Freeman answered that, for now, considering the general space, the police and fire buildings would be one-story, with the remaining operations being within a two-story building.

He pointed out, though, that this won’t be finalized until ROWE and WTA Architects work their way through the process.

As for the second phase regarding conceptual plans, renderings and cost, Freeman provided the following list of work to be performed by the companies:

• Prepare conceptual design drawings for the new building, including plan and elevation views.

• Prepare three-dimensional conceptual rendering views as necessary for communicating the design.

• Prepare preliminary opinion of construction cost and budget recommendations.

• Meet with township officials as needed to review design options and cost information.

Schedule wise, he said the idea is to meet with architects during the week of July 8, host a kickoff meeting, conduct interviews with township staff and officials, tour the site(s) and start getting a comprehension of what the space needs assessment will be.

Following this, a programming review meeting is anticipated to take place during the week of July 29. Freeman said this is when the conceptual floor plan can start being laid out, with discussions on any concerns or items which need to be addressed.

Design review meetings will then occur in both August and September.

Freeman said this time line can be accelerated, depending on needs and other factors, but currently this is the general idea of how the schedule is going to be.

In other updates, Freeman gave details on Phase I of the township’s water main extension project, which began last year as part of the goal to get clean municipal water to residents affected by the per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances contamination coming from the former Wurtsmith Air Force Base.

As previously reported, the Phase I portion had a contract final completion date expiring on Oct. 31, 2018. It entails a water main extension down Van Etten Dam Road and Forest Drive, as well as a new meter pit installation for Rose Lane.

However, there have been delays along the way, including several of the water service leads and valves on all three roads not meeting the minimum bury depth of 66 inches when installed by MacArthur Construction, requiring them to be lowered.

It was on Nov. 20 of last year when MacArthur Construction was provided with a punch list of tasks which needed to be complete, prior to finalizing the project. According to Freeman, the remaining work for this phase – which includes providing property owners with service connections to Phase I – can’t begin until all the curb stop boxes are at the appropriate elevation.

John Henry Excavating has since been brought on to make the corrections, with Freeman noting during the June 24 board meeting that the contract with John Henry is in the final stages.

According to Freeman, those from the excavating company plan to begin the work in the middle or the end of July, and it is expected to be a two- to three-week process.

He added that, as the issues are being fixed with the main/curb stop elevations, the connections to the homes will be made at the same time.

Van Etten Dam Road resident Vicky Cole asked if the lines can start being put in from the curb stops to the homes, to at least get things started.

She noted that the grant money for the work will be gone if the project isn’t finished by Dec. 31 and, since there won’t be any digging going on in November or December, it will have to be done by October.

Both she and Greg Cole also expressed concerns during the public comment session of the meeting – about the easements which need to be signed as part as the project – saying that people haven’t been receiving these documents in the mail, as expected.

Freeman said there are a total of 24 easements needed, several of which have already been submitted.

He said one problem ROWE faced with the initial sending out of the packets of information to property owners, was that the downstate addresses were still needed for seasonal residents.

“So we’ve gotten those now and another round of mailings is going out to the downstate addresses. Hopefully that will take care of the remaining people who have not been contacted,” Freeman explained.

“It was stated that the grant funding does expire Dec. 31 but, based on what we’re hearing, we shouldn’t have any problem meeting that schedule,” he continued.

He also pointed out that not all easements have to be in to get the project going. “If only 15 sign up, we will only install 15. If all 24 sign up, we’ll install 24.”

He added that, once the contract is in place with John Henry Excavating, ROWE representatives will be meeting with the company to go over the list of those who haven’t signed easements, and a process will be put in place to knock on the doors of residents to try to get everybody signed up.

Freeman said Henry has also offered to reach out to property owners if there are any outstanding documents, since he has to make contact with them anyway to arrange for access to the homes, set up plumber work and so on.

As for Phase II of the project, involving water main work on Woodland and Loud drives, Freeman said this portion was to go out for review by the U.S. Department of Agriculture – which has provided funds toward the effort – at the end of June. It is anticipated that this phase will be ready for advertisement sometime in July, with the contractor hopefully starting up as soon as August.

In separate matters, trustees approved a list of items to be auctioned, as prepared by Oscoda Township Police Chief Mark David.

“The Oscoda-Wurtsmith Airport and Oscoda Township will be holding a joint auction on Saturday, Aug. 31, at the airport,” said Superintendent Dave Schaeffer, adding that more details will follow regarding an exact time and location.

The list of items approved for the auction include approximately 90 bicycles, a four-wheeler, a large generator, fishing poles, car jacks and jack stands, miscellaneous coins, miscellaneous tools and wet suits, dry suits and other diving equipment.