Budget message: A Conservative Approach Yields Large Returns

Every four years, the Meridian Township voters are faced with Township Board elections. With the draft budget before the current board next Tuesday, I want to take this moment to acknowledge some of the major fiscal accomplishments that have benefited the residents of Meridian Township.

The current Township Board has worked collectively to respond rapidly to two major storms (December 21, 2013 and July 8, 2016), ongoing management of the Chronic Wasting Disease and increasing the general fund balance by $1,300,000. Maintaining unparalleled public safety has been the hallmark of this Board. Since 2012, the Board allocated funds to purchase all new turnout gear for the fire department and body worn cameras for the police department. Additionally, they responded to the call for school safety with improvements on Kinawa Drive near Chippewa Middle School.

Thanks to the voters in Meridian Township the new Central Fire Station opened on February 1, 2016. Plans are in place this year for each of the three fire stations to be equipped with an ambulance. The safety of our residents is of utmost importance.

Our park system is well known throughout the region and state as the model to reach for. We salute the outstanding relationship between our voters, the Park Commission and the Township Board. Over the past 4 years, the Meridian Township parks system has reached new heights. With the improvements to Brattin Woods Park, Central Park, Ferguson Park, Hartrick Park, Hillbrook Park, Nancy Moore Park, North Meridian Road Park, Newton Road Park, Orlando Park, Wonch Park, and the Harris Nature Center and Meridian Historical Village; Meridian Township Parks have become a destination for visitors.

With the exception of the Central Fire Station, all of this was accomplished with no tax increases and no additional debt burden for our taxpayers.

We have our ongoing challenges; however, at every turn we stepped up to the plate and worked as a group to provide first-rate customer service and an overwhelmingly compassionate response during our two major storms. The governing body found a way to commit a $1,000,000 in additional funding to the MERS pension fund and increased local road funding by $100,000 per year. Addressing increased pensions will be continued challenge facing us in the years ahead.

The 2017 draft budget is being presented before the Township Board on September 6. The Township Board should be acknowledged and thanked for their passion, loyalty and exemplary public service to the community these past four years. The public is invited and welcomed to attend the Township Board Budget Meeting on Tuesday, September 6, 2016 at 6:00 p.m. Read the recommended 2017 budget proposal available online.

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Memorial Day of Honor

My father, Carleton Walsh, served in the U.S. Air Force from 1952 until 1955. My brother is my only sibling and retired from the U.S. Air Force in 2008. My father was stationed in Greenland and my brother spent a lot of time in Okinawa.

Franks family photo
My family enjoying a Tiger Baseball Game in 2011 at Comerica Park

I grew up in a family where military service was a mainstay. Growing up in a military family taught me the respect of the American flag and the importance of properly displaying the flag. I remember my father would show up at my doorstep, no matter which home I lived in, with a flag in hand. That meant a lot to me. I participate in the Kiwanis Club of Haslett flag program which hangs flags six times a year. The “Flags Over Meridian” program brings back memories of the honor and respect my father taught me.

Ironically, the bridge completion on Okemos Road is expected to be on Flag Day, June 14th. This Memorial Day weekend, we hang the “Flags Over Meridian” to honor all those who serve and we thank them for their service.

I encourage you to take part in one of two Memorial Day Services being held in the Township on Monday, May 30th. The Township offices will be closed that day as we spend the day in remembrance, honor and tribute to those who have sacrificed for our country.

Happy Memorial Day

Meridian Township Service at Glendale Cemetery

American Legion Service at the World War II Memorial at Rayla Elementary School

2016 Township Plan

Fire truckOver the past few months our TEAM has drafted a 2016 Action Plan and Strategic Plan including Township-wide projects. The Township Board has spent hours vetting the goals and objectives to create a unified blueprint for 2016. I want to give credit to the board and staff for their hard work, passion and determination put into this massive undertaking. We have not seen anything like this yet and we look forward to our commitment that our efforts are in line with continuing to make Meridian a Community of Choice.
Continue reading “2016 Township Plan”

I Give My Heart and Sole: Parkinson’s 5K Walk and Run

Parkinson's Walk Sole LogoI am proud to be an Honorary Chair of this year’s Parkinson’s Walk-a-Thon for the Michigan Parkinson Foundation. I think most of us know someone who is living with Parkinson’s. I give my sole to Parkinson’s on Saturday, August 8th in honor of Ron Momany of St. Joseph. Ron was the Finance Director/Clerk in St. Joseph, and I had the pleasure of working with him in the mid-90’s. Ron was diagnosed with Parkinson’s around 10 years ago. He is not alone in his journey and I invite you to walk with us this Saturday to show support. Continue reading “I Give My Heart and Sole: Parkinson’s 5K Walk and Run”

Meridian Welcomes Open Doors of Opportunity

Welcoming Doggy Daycare
Welcoming Doggy Daycare to Meridian

I remember my first job when I was 10 years old. For three summers in a row, I worked at Gee Farms in Stockbridge picking green beans. This job really taught me the value of hard work. The more beans you picked, the more money you made. My second job as a Dishwasher at Bill Knapps taught me the value of good customer service and loyalty to the company. I worked there for 9 years throughout high school and college and it was more than the free birthday cake that kept me there, it was a love for the company and work ethic development. Continue reading “Meridian Welcomes Open Doors of Opportunity”

Reinvesting in Meridian: Downtown Okemos- A Catalyst for Change

Fire station for saleThe interest shown for the downtown Okemos property where The MARC and former Central Fire Station structures sit on Okemos Road has drawn considerable interest. Given the amount of attention the site has received, the Township Board will be keeping the vision of the Township in mind when considering developers for the site. Making positive changes to the area will require keeping that vision at the forefront while also selecting a developer who is financially stable, has an outstanding reputation, and will develop the site to match the Township’s future master plan.For Sale The MARC

In order to accomplish this, we formed a small committee consisting of economic developers, 2-3 Township Board members, Planning Commissioners, a member of the Economic Development Corporation (EDC), and a resident of the Downtown Development Authority (DDA) neighborhood. There are many development opportunities in the region and the Township is honored to have developers show high interest in the property. The goal is to have mixed use development for commercial and residential, which will hopefully have a coattail effect on other area businesses. With just 18 units allowed, the ability for a developer to make the numbers work is rather difficult, but we are confident we will be able to move forward as we’ve seen businesses continually show confidence that Meridian is a community of choice. We believe a developer will see the value of choosing this site in downtown Okemos and will make Meridian their choice.

 Downtown OkemosTentative Downtown Okemos Redevelopment Project Timeline:

Committee formed May 7th

Evaluate proposals in May

Final selection by the Township Board in June

Planning Commission and Township Board site plan approval process remainder of 2015

Construction in 2016

Keeping the project moving forward will be imperative for rebuilding this section of the Township and attracting people to the area. Downtown Okemos is one of the major focal points of the community and we are focusing on what we can do with this project which will be a catalyst for a redevelopment in the area.

Groundbreaking the Next Phase for Meridian’s New Central Fire Station

Fire groundbreaking photo edited lettersizeAs we enter April 2015, we take an important step in Meridian Township history by celebrating the groundbreaking for the new Central Fire Station. This project started under the leadership of our former Township Manager Jerry Richards who led the millage campaign and was instrumental in planning the fire station.

The project could not have happened without Jerry and the many people that we have here today to share the history of the station and all the work that we’ve done to get here. I would like to share some of the kind words from Bob Hammer, a 92 year old resident and friend of the township:

“Congratulations on a really fine groundbreaking ceremony. It certainly seemed well attended. You and other township officials and staff have worked many long hours on this project and I am one ordinary citizen who wants you to know your work is appreciated. I felt out of place being remembered on a program with so many who have done so much, but I do thank you. Thank you!”

Please enjoy this video and the rest of Mr. Hammer’s story at our groundbreaking ceremony that is a symbol of moving forward in Meridian Township.

New Meridian Projects for 2015

We’re excited about the projects that we have coming up for residents in 2015.

Towner Park Phase 1

The Meridian Township Board worked diligently with the Meridian Team to put together a list of goals and objectives that will bring some long standing projects to completion. The new pedestrian pathway bridge is being built right now on Okemos Road by Wonch Park crossing over the Red Cedar. Being able to provide and support a safe, walkable community into our downtown areas is much anticipated this spring.

We will also see updates and redevelopments to some of our parks and play structures, a new Central Fire Station and enhancements to our business districts. The year 2014 proved how much residents appreciate and utilize the services we provide, the parks we play in and visit, local establishments, and township wide special events. 2015 will bring those opportunities back and so much more.

Rendering of the New Central Fire Station

We’ve brought in the New Year with new businesses opening their doors and we expect to see Whole Foods open this fall. We hope you share in our excitement of the many things to come in 2015 and we invite you to take part in opportunities to get involved and enjoy all that is Meridian. We hope you enjoy reading Meridian’s 2015 Goals.

Meridian Answers Call to Ice Storm

Frank Walsh
Township Manager



Dear Meridian Township Residents,

The Meridian Township TEAM is very concerned for the residents of Meridian Township and the havoc that the ice storm has declared  on  many of the families. We expect residents to be without power for up to 5-6 more days depending on the weather forecast. We are  declaring  a State of Emergency as the high sustained winds forecasted for Wednesday, combined with the ice, will only lead to more  power  outages. Our Emergency Manager (Chief Cowper) is returning from his vacation to assist in the emergency response.

This morning the Meridian Township TEAM met to discuss our next step in dealing with the ice crisis that has gripped the Greater  Lansing area. Over the weekend we worked with the Haslett Public School system and opened a WARMING CENTER at HASLETT HIGH SCHOOL at 11am. The center will be open 24/7 until further notice. We are providing water and some snacks for our residents. Consumers Energy estimates more than 20,000 customers are without power in in their service area and Lansing Board of Water and Light estimate up to 35,000 customers without power in their service area. We will continue to further our efforts to help our most vulnerable residents.

Haslett High School
Haslett High School courtesy Lansing State Journal

We are also working with the Meridian Township Board to develop a plan of action to address the vast amount of branches and limbs throughout our neighborhoods. I appreciate the swift response from our Township Board and our very capable Management Team.

We are here to serve you. Our staff will continue to work around the clock for the safety of your families. Please continue to check the Meridian Township website for updates www.meridian.mi.us  

Residents are reminded that they can stay warm during the day at Meijer, Meridian Mall, Kohls, Target, and other shopping areas during the day during regular business hours. We want to make sure that our residents know there is a place of shelter for them.


Frank Walsh, Meridian Township Manager