From Columbia Township Treasurer John Calhoun
The parks department for Jackson County was approached by Columbia Township in 2012 about partnering on the upkeep of the County park, as the township was experiencing overflow conditions at the west end park at Clark Lake on warm days during the summer. The Board felt that the County park, were it to be upgraded and made more appealing, could take some of the pressure off the Township Park. Brandon Ransom, Jackson County parks director, thought that the idea of partnering with the Township was a good one and asked if Columbia Township would be open to sharing the cost of an engineering study and phase one of the County Park revamp which would cost around $25,000. The Township Board discussed and committed to sharing the $12,500 cost for the beach restoration and other upgrades to the County Park in 2012. Three representatives from the Columbia Board were appointed to act as representatives of the entire Board–Flip Reynolds, Robin Tackett and John Calhoun, all residents of Clark Lake.
Meetings between the County and Township began in mid-2012 with the draft proposal of potential upgrades to the park submitted by ASI engineering being reviewed and changes made. Brandon Ransom accepted a job offer in Denver, Colorado in mid-September 2013 prior to the draft proposal being finalized and voted on by the County Parks and Recreation Board. The County Parks and Recreation Board recently held a meeting regarding proposed changes to Clark Lake’s park and asked for public comments on the proposed changes. Due to Brandon Ransom’s departure, some lines of communication need to be addressed as the Township was only made aware of the meeting at the last minute. Currently, Jackson County is seeking a replacement for Brandon and hopes to have his replacement soon.
Public comment centered around concerns of the upgrade to the boat launch at the east end of Clark Lake. Lake residents feel that there are enough boats on the lake due to the docking facilities provided at several lake marinas. The draft proposal, which did list upgrades to the boat landing was altered through discussions between the two Boards. The main goal of the project is re-establishing the shoreline with coconut bales called coi rolls, adding a sand beach for recreational swimming, future playground upgrades, restrooms and a handicap accessible fishing pier. The total cost for the preliminary phase is $25,000, with funding from the County budget, Columbia Township and grants. Future enhancements will be dependent upon the success of the initial upgrades.