Rob Eggers recentlty helped give three presentations about various recreation subjects at the 2013 MRPA Conference in Lansing. Check them out below! Links to the presentations in PDF format are provided.
Alternative Funding Sources for Park Development This MRPA presentation provides resources and examples of various funding options for the development of parks. Many park and recreation professionals are familiar with the Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund, the Land and Water Conservation Fund, the Recreation Passport Grant Program and the Transportation Alternatives Grant Program, but there are lesser known sources of funding which may be available to fund all or part of your community projects. This presentation explores case studies in Bay and Saginaw Counties and other creative sources of funding available to park and recreation agencies under the right circumstances.
Collaborative Recreation Plans This MRPA presentation focuses on the benefits of collaboration with neighboring jurisdictions in developing a community recreation plan. The passage of the Economic Vitality Incentive Program (EVIP) legislation as a condition for local communities to receive state revenue sharing makes multi-jurisdictional partnership and collaboration more important than ever. In addition to discussing the practical value of this approach, the panel shared methods and techniques for accomplishing a multi-jurisdiction recreation plan while discussing real-life examples. Relevant examples wereshared in the presentation.
Revised ADA Administrative Rules: What is Required of State and Local Park and Recreation Professionals? This MRPA presentation provides an explanation of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Title II Requirements of the recent Department of Justice rule revisions. Speakers spoke about how the revisions pertain to parks and recreation and will provide participants with tools and techniques to meet their responsibilities under this landmark federal civil rights law and the potential consequences of failing to comply with ADA requirements. The presentation concludes with some examples of park projects where ADA and universal access design concepts have been implemented.
A valued client of ours recently completed the construction of a 1.5 Million Gallon elevated water tank. Upon completion of the exterior construction, there was visible deformation in the shape of the top of the structure. While the contractor that constructed the tank was telling the client that it was normal, and the tank was constructed within acceptable tolerance, the client was not satisfied. We suggested that we laser scan the tank, compare the 3D point cloud of the tank to the design plans, then measure the difference between the two.
The next day we had a survey crew on site, preparing to perform multiple 3D laser scans of the elevated tank in order to completely cover the entire exterior. Three scans from the ground were performed, then using appropriate harness equipment, crews climbed to the top of the tower with their scanning equipment in tow. Three scan were then performed from the top of the tower.
Back at the office we were able to reference all six scans together using precise survey control targets that were acquired in each scan. Now we had a 3D point cloud of the newly constructed tower, representing its true shape. We just needed something to compare it to......
The next step was to take the paper design plans of the water tower's exterior, and use AutoCAD to turn those plans into a 3D model object of the water tower as if it were constructed 100% perfect. Once we had the model of the perfect tower, we could compare the point cloud to the model and measure the differences in AutoCAD. We prepared a set of different cross section views, showing the comparison of the model and the point cloud at several different locations. These drawings provided absolute evidence that the top of the tank was deformed and by how much.
The tank's design team determined that the deformation of the top of the tank was enough to cause uneven snow loading on the top of tank, therefore making is a structural issue in addition to an aesthetic issue. As a result of this irrefutable evidence, the contractor agreed to mobilize the necessary equipment and staff and they pulled apart sections of the top of the tank and reformed the top to be in compliance with acceptable construction tolerance.
Click Here Thomas Township Water Tank for the highlight.
Our company is in the process of completing a project for the Michigan Department of Transportation that consists of establishing elevation reference marks for stream gages that are managed by NOAA. The project is the first of hopefully several projects to come that are funded by the federal government in an effort to provide better elevation control near existing river/stream gages.
This initial project is for two areas in St. Clair County; one is near the Belle River and the other along the Black River.
NOAA's standards require that the elevations be determined from existing control monuments by means of differential leveling. NOAA has developed a set of standards for this type of high precision leveling that must be strictly adhered to in order for the data to be accepted by the federal government. To give you a sense of accuracy, our survey crews performed several leveling "segments" of up to 4 km in length each. Elevations are carried so precisely over that distance, that the comparison of a carried elevation running one direction, compared to the elevation carried running the opposite direction, yields differences as little as 0.0004m. That's not a typo. That's 4 tenths of a millimeter! Our worst elevation difference was 0.003m (3mm). Only specialized digital levels are allowed for this type of work, and you can see that incredible accuracies can be achieved. Spicer Group is one of only 5 consultants that are prequalified to do this type of work in the state of Michigan.
Below are a couple photographs of our crews working and the specialized equipment that is used.
These days, nearly everyone has tried some sort of new approach to Economic Development. For some it seems to be working, but some folks have been looking for a Plan B. I found an interesting report prepared for the ICMA about the dotcom bubble recession, and many of the innovative strategies implemented by struggling communities at that time are still sound. You can view the article at:
Whenever times are tough, many folks focus on core values. Time and again, the following principles have worked for many communities I have worked with:
1. Know what you want and where you want it, then find ways to say "Yes"
2. Time is the only thing a municipality has to offer a business.
3. Its ok to be picky, but say "no" quickly.
More on those thoughts is available at:
The EPA has announced another round of funding, with a 1/23/12 submittal deadline, so now is the time to evaluate whether one of these grants could help your community. Communities with a likely project may want to view the webinars if you have not submitted to EPA before. Or feel free to post and/or contact me directly at 734 697-7305.
To help you get an initial read on whether this grant might be for you, here is a one page summary of what this program is targeting and how they plan to hand out the dough. This summary includes direct links to the detailed EPA guidance documents:
- Applications can be for planning, not just implementation.
- It appears that scoring will favor disadvantaged socio-economic areas.
Go to http://is.gd/localintsafety for info on a free seminar on Rural Road Safety.
For funding information on Rural Roads, go to my blog
There’s a debate in Washington going on over the viability of a project being proposed that could destroy the reliability of high precision GPS.
The fight is over whether to let LightSquared, a company controlled by a New York hedge fund, use existing satellite radio spectrum to launch a new broadband network using as many as 40,000 powerful, ground-based stations. LightSquared proposes to build this network in the spectrum band very near the one in which GPS operates, and if its plans go forward, tests show that the result could be widespread interference with high-precision GPS that is the backbone of modern surveying, engineering, construction, and agriculture. Every major public and private agency is opposed to Lightsquared’s plan, and rightfully so, as the destruction of GPS would be catastrophic.
Robust GPS signals are essential to surveyors, engineers and construction companies in ensuring the accuracy of new construction. As a surveyor for 13 years, I know that without high precision GPS, those in mine and similar professions would have to revert to out-dated methods, that are more labor intensive, costly, pose significant safety hazards and are less accurate.
The FCC is the federal agency that gave LightSquared the conditional okay to go ahead. Studies show that the Lightsquared plan not only affects the GPS signal, but causes catestrophic signal interference, rendering precision GPS useless. As a result, the LightSquared proposal has been met by strong opposition from many GPS users who don’t understand why the FCC would consider approving a plan that puts GPS in jeopardy. That’s led to LightSquared scaling back some of its plans and the FCC has called for more testing of a new LightSquared plan. But unfortunately, the new plan does not address interference for high-precision GPS users like me.
If GPS technology is not protected, it would harm nearly every aspect of the Architectural, Engineering and Construction (AEC) industry, along with farmers, pilots, 911 dispatchers, and other industries that rely on high-precision GPS. It could also wipe out the expensive up-front investment many of us have made in precision GPS equipment.
The most widespread use of GPS is in car devices that keep us from getting lost. But that’s a simpler version of the technology we use. Precision GPS devices receive additional signals, enabling incredible accuracy – within less than an inch. It’s a level of precision that has transformed the way that we do business.
My experience is probably typical. At Spicer Group, we operate 16 high precision GPS receivers every day. I can say without hesitation that it is the single most important piece of technology we use. High-precision GPS allows our surveyors to be more accurate, more efficient, more competitive and more profitable – all while preserving the safety of our employees and the general public.
Before we had precision GPS, all surveying equipment relied on optical instruments. This meant that a line of sight was required between survey markers, many of which are located within roadways. With GPS technology, a line of sight is not required, which means our surveyors can obtain the same measurements much quicker reducing their exposure to traffic.
But the value of precision GPS extends well beyond the safety of surveyors and the convenience of drivers on the road. Every construction project will take more time and get more expensive if surveyors and construction personnel do not have reliable GPS. Now more than ever, we need to find ways to work more effectively and efficiently to keep the cost of public projects down. If high precision GPS is severely affected, the cost of public projects will most certainly go up.
For more information on Lightsquared and how it’s plans will affect GPS, please visit http://saveourgps.org/
The Community Planners at Spicer Group - Rob Eggers and myself - gave a presentation last week at the Michigan Association of Planning’s 2011 Annual Conference in Grand Rapids called “Site Plan Review for Wind Farms – Case Study: Gratiot County.” We were also joined by Chad Doyle from the Gratiot County Permits Office and Rich VanderVeen of Wind Resource LLC.
Spicer's presentation described the process at the municipal permitting level for approving the 133-turbine 200-megawatt wind farm. Spanning across four Townships within Gratiot County, the wind farm currently has 60 turbine structures fully constructed and the entire wind farm is expected to go online and provide electricity to the grid in early 2012.
The Gratiot County wind farm is under construction in Wheeler, Bethany, Emerson, and Lafayette Townships. Approximately 30,000 acres have been leased by over 240 landowners. Each of the 133 wind turbines has a 328' tower and a 270' rotor and are built by GE. For more information, Rich VanderVeen has produced a short two-minute video describing the Gratiot County wind farm.
When I was in first grade, rain events meant staying inside for recess or riding through mud puddles with our bikes after school. I gave little thought to where the rain came from or where it went after it fell to the ground. In 1986, I got a good idea of where it goes when storm sewers back up after I woke to my parents trying to pump four feet of water out of our basement after a major storm hit Saginaw County. I'm not sure if was for lack of education on the dynmics of storm water collection or simply just a lack of interest, but, in my younger years, I really had no idea, and didnt care how important water infrastructures are to municipalities. On the other hand, my oldest son is in first grade and constantly asks questions regarding what Spicer does? During one of our travels to school one morning, I explained how Spicer designs sewer networks that collect storm water so that after it rains the water has somewhere go. He really took interest in this, and in fact the other day drew a picture that he wanted to take to his class and explain what Spicer does and where the rain goes after it falls. The picture attached above is an actual drawing of my son's perception of storm water engineering. I'll let your imagination explain what is what on the picture. If there is a morale to this story, I guess it could be to explain to our kids at a young age about our infrastructure........they have a long time to think about it and maybe even develop ways to make it better. Getting them to take interest in your work also makes your work much more enjoyable.
The Kawkawlin Watershed Management Plan has been approved by the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality on September 19, 2011. This approval is the culmination of the project that started in the fall of 2008, with the first draft submittal in the fall of 2010. The plan meets all of the requirements necessary to become eligible for Clean Michigan Initiative (CMI) and Federal Section 319 grants. The original CMI planning grant was written by Spicer Group for the Bay County Drain Commissioner’s office. With the current plan approval the stakeholders of the watershed have a document that allows them to pursue state and federal dollars to initiate projects in the watershed to rehabilitate and protect the river, watershed and associated wetlands. The plan was worked on by staff from Spicer Group, Saginaw Bay RC & D, Little Forks Conservancy, MDEQ (special thanks to the MDEQ wetlands group), Bay County Drain Commissioner, Bay County Farm Bureau, Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, and Kawkawlin River Property Owners Association.
Currently, the Saginaw Valley State University and Delta College have teamed up and adopted the watershed to gather and develop further research data and provide students with an opportunity to get real life experience in watershed management. F109001_Watershed _Boundaries