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Talk About Town: Does the Village of Hartland Need New Sidewalks and Parking?

Would you support a bond or mileage for new sidewalks and parking in the village of Hartland?

A plan to i of Hartland was presented to residents in March of 2011, but according to Heidi Bierer owner of the Farm Bureau Insurance Agency in downtown Hartland, the plan has been “shelved” because of financial issues.

“Some of the feedback that the township received was that they (residents) loved the plan and it was a very attractive plan, but the local village residents weren’t interested if it would cost them anything,” Bierer said.

The Village Plan that was presented to residents in 2011 included the re-paving of Avon Street, new sidewalks and a new design for parking that included parallel parking spaces.

Bierer, who says she believes that having an attractive downtown would benefit everyone, recently raised the question of the “shelved project” to board members of the Hartland Township. 

“They felt that it wasn’t going to do enough good for enough residents to put it on the top of their pile, basically,” Bierer said. “Other things would bring more income and benefit to the community, like the and .”

Hartland township supervisor Bill Fountain said that although the township has no plans right now to pay for the proposed plan, they are in an “exploratory phase” on how to find the money to have the project completed.

“We have a plan, but we do not have a plan at this point on how it’s going to be paid for,” Fountain said. "The village is an area of commerce for our community and we’re working and striving to find ways to implement the plan that we put in place."

Putting forth an effort into creating a “walk-able” community is Bierer’s hope and says venues such as the and would benefit as well from having a safe, attractive and well-kept downtown. 

“I would hope that there would be some outreach to the community as a whole to try and address this issue,” she said. “Whether it be through a bond issue or just a plan on the township’s part to perhaps do it in stages as funds become available or through research grants. Because it is a historical area, there may be grants available.”

Fountain says that there have been some discussions regarding possible bonds or millages put to the community, but nothing "formal" has been done yet.

Hartland Patch wants to know: Would you support a bond or millage to help pay for new sidewalks and parking in the village of Hartland?

In this Thursday morning feature, we want to hear your opinions about certain topics making headlines. We'll be looking for your feedback in the comment section weekly. And we want to know what the Talk About Town is in your circles. Email Tatum at tatum.ryan@patch.com and it could be a topic of a future Talk About Town.

Mike September 13, 2012 at 10:59 AM
I think that this would be great, I also think the "Old Town Area" is doomed if we don't do somthing to attract a walking and small shopping district.
Gary Cornillaud September 13, 2012 at 11:06 AM
As a property owner in the village (my wife and I restored and own 3508 Avon,where the Chamber of Commerce is located), I acknowledge I have a built in bias, but would like to comment. The historical signifcance of the village and its physical structure as an actual pedestrian scaled place make it a unique opportunity for adding to the quality of life in Hartland Township. I see individuals and familes come there by vehicle, park and walk or sometimes jog along the sidewalks (where they still exist in useable form). This tells me that there is a desire to experience something more than the typical offering of ten acre parcels, large lot subdivisions and major road retail centers seen in most subrural communities. Ultimately, the residents of Hartland must determine what they view as important and how they define community to themselves and their children. It is more about vision and aspirations than money. Sometimes I fear that Hartland, lacks the most important of these, but the optimist in me hopes otherwise.
NotLazy September 13, 2012 at 11:12 AM
When I lived in the city, I had to pay to replace my old sidewalks. I did get a better deal when the city bid out the work to a single contractor who gave us a lower price as a result.
Bob September 13, 2012 at 12:03 PM
I would definitely support a millage to improve (save) the Village. It should be a source of pride for the township.
Donna Ellis September 13, 2012 at 01:58 PM
The Hartland Township Board should be ashamed that they have neglected such an obvious safety issue as the repair/replacement of the sidewalks on Avon in the Village. Twice each year people from counties surrounding Livingston come in large numbers to the Memorial Day Parade and the Heritage Day Celebration held in the Village only to trip on the broken and crumbling remains of sidewalks long ago fallen into disrepair. Yet our Hartland Township Board ignores the problem. Remember these are sidewalks used daily by school children and seniors - in fact, by the community at large. In addition to the deplorable condition of existing sidewalks on Avon, the complete absence of sidewalks in the oldest section of the village where historic walking tours are held is inexcusable. Do I live in the Village? No. Would I vote for a bond to fix this problem? Yes. Would I vote this Township Board out of office? Yes. Why? Because they fail to see a basic responsibility to maintain the safety of our community. A project so basic that I believe it should be paid for as a safety priority out of taxes already collected.
Dr Cindy September 13, 2012 at 02:08 PM
We really need to repair hartland road and add a shoulder - especially on the north side of town. I fear for the safety of our kids and folks biking or running up and down that crumbling road with no where to get out of the way of people driving too fast anyway. The track team is frequently up and down that road as well as the Crouse bridge which also has no pedestrian/bike lane. The village is very unsafe for outdoor and community activities at this time and it should be a #1 priority - above another sports field or a teen center IMHO.
Angela September 13, 2012 at 02:56 PM
No, if I wanted to live in a shiny polished suburb and pay much higher taxes, I'd move. Leave Hartland alone. It's perfect the way it is.
Terri Mason September 13, 2012 at 03:27 PM
I SO agree with Gary's comments and yes, I would support a bond or millage for this project.
David sizemore September 13, 2012 at 03:56 PM
Do we have any community volunteer programs going for small projects?
Hartland Dad September 13, 2012 at 04:06 PM
HI Angela, The board might talk millage, but it has quite a significant fund balance that I think it could consider. I don't know if this is true now, but recently it was larger than an entire year's worth of the general fund budget. The elected officials have watched our pennies well, especially in bad economic times and the whole sewer fund bond issue. But I agree with others that improvements to the village would help our community as a whole and that this need has been not prioritized financially by our leaders. We wonder why no new development has happened and we now have these large (and unappealing) open swaths next to Meijer and it's more complicated than the just economy. I think one way to spur additional development is to polish up what makes us unique -- the village (as well as our small town charm) is part of that and enrich our own quality of life.
Joe Kleiner September 13, 2012 at 04:19 PM
When this issue was raised several years ago, I felt then, and still do, that parking across sidewalks should be banned. Regardless of whether the walkway is in good condition or not, pedestrians should not have to walk 'into' the street to get around parked cars, as part of their route. Upgrading the quality of the walkways will not solve the problem. I will support a bond issue ONLY if this problem is addressed and corrected first.
Mike Peterson September 13, 2012 at 05:57 PM
Teen center's don't work. They work in the short term, the attraction goes and they close within a couple of years. Sports fields are a plus, but shouldn't those fields be paid for and maintained by the associations that use them? Downtown's are disappearing all over and they will never be back. Downtown Hartland is all but gone. If money is an issue, then see if a short term millage can be passed to make the improvements. Enact a sidewalk ordinance/program once it is done, making those with sidewalks in front of their house/business responsible to maintain that walkway. Every couple of years do a survey to see what is damaged and what needs to be replaced. Let the homeowner/business get if fixed, or contract to have it all done and charge back to that particular homeowner/business.
Barbara Krueger September 13, 2012 at 07:39 PM
The village area of Hartland can't be treated the same as a newer subdivision. The streets, drainage and sidewalks date from about 1930, and have not had any updates. The village houses the post office, the main library, 2 churches, the Music Hall, the historical museum, and several schools.....it IS the center of Hartland, and as such all of us who use the post office, the library, have children at a school, attend a church, the Museum or the Music Hall must be dedicated/ involved in any mileage. However, that being said, there had been financing planned for some years for the new soccer fields and possibly a park adjacent to the township hall. It would be fortuitous for the township officials to have planned to replace the deteriorating infastructure in the village also and plan for parking. A few years ago there was a committee that include township officials who participated in a Walkability program. The 3-way stop was a result of that.....to make the village area a delightful place to live, it is imperative that planning begin immediately.
diane September 13, 2012 at 07:56 PM
I support a millage to raise money to repair the streets in Hartland. I do not live in town, but I visit the town center for parades and other activities. It is a source of pride for me to have sweet little Hartland maintained. Our small towns are quickly disappearing, and it would be a shame to continue to let Hartland decay.
Donna Ellis September 13, 2012 at 08:05 PM
The Village of Hartland is the unrecognized jewel of Livingston County. It provides us the means to touch our past. It cannot be allowed to slip away and become the ghost town many of its sister villages became. The necessary repairs and improvements are small compared to most infrastructure projects. The time is NOW to use our vision and yes, our money to polish this jewel that connects the past to the present.
ShyrlAnn Cone September 13, 2012 at 11:23 PM
Bravo, Gary. Well said!
ShyrlAnn Cone September 13, 2012 at 11:30 PM
Joe, I agree. The sidewalks should be clear of cars. As a regular pedestrian in the village (I live and work here), I can't stress enough that the sidewalks are treacherous. The very short walk from the church to my home on Avon is great fun in the winter at night, where I have to try to predict where the gaping holes and cracks are as well as dodge the cars blocking the sidewalk!
hartland eagle September 14, 2012 at 01:54 AM
"The Village is an area of commerce" said Fountain. What!?! If you people in "downtown" want parking and sidewalks... PAY FOR THEM. Just like those of us in subdivisions do. Nobody's paving our streets or putting in sidewalks. Get a special assessment, like the subs do, and pay for it yourselves. It was $7000 per home to get the street repaved in my sub. The township paid zero. Trying to justify spending township funds (the overwhelming majority of which are generated outside of the village) to put in sidewalks in the village by calling it a center of commerce is LAUGHABLE. What is there? One business there? Oh wait, that's out of business, isn't it....
Donald Thompson September 14, 2012 at 04:38 AM
I take great pride in calling Hartland my home for the last 36 years.The amount of history that the village has is part of that reason.It all ways upsets me to see 4 or5 thousand people come to the biggest Memorial Day parade in Livingston county and have to navigate the deplorable sidewalks.If the village was walkable I believe we would see a rebirth of commerce there and a even greater sense of pride that we haven't let something so unique die because of a few dollars.History is what we are and to preserve it is definitely worth it to me.
Cheryl Dennis September 14, 2012 at 05:06 PM
I agree Mr. Thompson, Perhaps that would be good times to pass the hat, or have a raffle.Cheryl
Robert Ruby September 14, 2012 at 07:09 PM
The 'village' area of Hartland is our public face to the rest of the world. I would much rather visitors see a well maintained community, rather than 100 year old sidewalks, no curbs and little parking. There are several businesses ni the village, and maybe if it was easy to move about, more would locate here. There is certainly enough traffic to justify improving the infrastructure, which can't be said for all areas of Hartland Township.
Village Business Owner September 17, 2012 at 03:51 PM
Dear "hartland eagle" When was the last time YOU came into the village? When I located my business here (which is still OPEN for business - 11 years later) I paid to put in a new sidewalk in front of my "store front" and I keep it shoveled and salted in the winter time. There are now 2 re-sale/antique shops, a tea room, pizza/party store, fireplace shop, veterinarian office, insurance office, post office, library, music hall, 2 -business office buildings, Chamber of Commerce, a park and a church not to mention all the schools - ALL IN BUSINESS in the Village. There is no other area in Hartland - where streets can be closed down for a parade or other community centered event..... This is an important area for the whole community- where a little slice of history should be celebrated and safe for all to access and enjoy.......
hartland eagle September 17, 2012 at 09:18 PM
The last time? I was there Saturday. When you start paying higher taxes in the Village than the rest of the township - you can expect more services.
Sparty Pants October 06, 2012 at 04:24 AM
The entire township of Hartland, both inside the Village an its surrounding areas, need updates to sidewalks. The township leadership needs to put a focus and priority on public safety and healthy lifestyles of it's residents by drafting a comprehensive sidewalk installation program. Many suburban communities have done this with shared costs between the township and the resident. The large scale plan allows residents to pay for sidewalks at deeply discounted rates. Even the "new" sidewalks along M-59 are sporadic. Hartland residents want to live healthy lifestyles biking and walking safely. Instead they are put at risk with crumbling sidewalks in the Village, and no usable/sustained pathways in surrounding areas. So they fing themselves using busy roads and putting themselves at risk, or taking the car and adding to the high volume of traffic.
NotLazy October 06, 2012 at 11:08 AM
If you want to live where sidewalks are, thats fine. But most cities require you to pay for your own sidewalk repairs. I prefer not to live where sidewalks are, and therefore do not want to pay for yours.
diane March 12, 2014 at 09:42 AM
I support making improvements to our Hartland village. I grew up in a small-town in Michigan, and unfortunately, we just don't have many communities that offer that life style any more. I think we are unique, and it would be a shame to lose that special quality. I don't live in the village, but I visit when we have parades and other town events. I think it's in our best interest to maintain our community.

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