Saturday, February 25, 2006

Livingston News - Election in Cohoctah Tuesday, New School opens

Two local stories from Livingston County. First is a referendum on a gas station/convienence store in rural Cohoctah Township. The other is a new St Pat's school opening in Brighton.

Rezoning protest spurs election

Voters on Tuesday will decide fate of proposed gas station-store in rural Cohoctah Township.

Jon Zemke / Special to The Detroit News

COHOCTAH TOWNSHIP -- Building a combination gas station and convenience store in one of Livingston's most rural townships has touched off yet another clash over development in the county.

It has gotten to the point that a special election will be held Tuesday to decide the issue. The township clerk is preparing for a turnout that could reach as high as 50 percent of the township's 2,230 registered voters.

"I don't know if it's going to be high or low," Cohoctah Township Clerk Karen Thurner said. "I know both sides of the issue are putting out signs. One side even sent out postcards." Thurner estimates the cost of the election at about $2,000.

Vern Brockway, the developer who wants to build the gas station and store, sent out about 1,000 postcards promoting why he should be allowed to build on the site. He lives on the 60 acres surrounding the six-acre parcel in question on Oak Grove Road near the Oak Grove millpond.

I don't know all the specifics on this issue and haven't followed this since I'm not a Cohoctah resident. The other story is from Brighton. St Pat's School is doubling its enrollment with their new building over where the old GM building is behind Meijer's.

Brighton school gets new home

$10M North Campus, expansion of St. Patrick's Catholic elementary, is to open in September.

John M. Galloway / Special to The Detroit News

BRIGHTON -- After a year and a half of struggling with city officials and the Fire Department to grant approvals to build a new facility, St. Patrick's Catholic Elementary School officials have started construction on their $10 million North Campus school.

The relocated and expanded complex is being built on a 13.4-acre site in a former General Motors Corp. building at 1001 Orndorf Drive, behind the Meijer store.

School officials are promising the doors will open for first- through eighth-grade students in September.

"We have overcome all our hurdles," said Ron Garrison, development director at St. Patrick's. "We are starting to call families off the wait list, and after that, we will start open registration."

Mary Bourke of Hamburg Township has two sons who attend the Catholic school and a third enrolling in the fall. She is excited about her kids attending the new and larger facility.

"When classes change, it's crowded," Bourke said. "I have been up there with my 4-year-old, and I have gotten carried away with the crowd."

The move from the St. Patrick's School on Rickett Road will allow class enrollment to increase from 274 to 480 students. There are about 140 students on the wait list.


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