By Jessica Mathews /

A contract has been awarded for the planned expansion of the parking lot at the Green Oak Township Hall.

At a recent virtual meeting of the township board, it was stated four bids were received for the project. The board voted unanimously to award the contract to the low bidder, TLS Construction, for $160,281. A 15-20% contingency will be built in for any unforeseen conditions that might arise during the construction.

Regular parking will be expanded but additional spaces accessible for people with disabilities are being added. The project will be done in phased stages and there will be disruptions for staff and those visiting the township hall off Silver Lake Road. It was stated that quite a bit of coordination will be required with the township hall and shifting of vehicles, as it is a somewhat complicated project but the phasing plan was included as part of the bid.

Supervisor Mark St. Charles commented that there will be inconvenience and there’s simply no way around it. He said it will be a very difficult summer getting in and out at the township hall due to the parking lot project and a new roof going on simultaneously. He said they’ll likely have to have some parking out in grassy areas like at the Green Oak Day event but also at the nearby Park & Ride lot across the road. At the end of the day, St. Charles said it will be great as they’ll be going from 48 to 78 parking spots – noting parking is already scarce, even during the pandemic.

It was noted that it was a great bid, even with the contingency, and still under the original budget. There was a roughly $50,000 difference with the high bid received. At a December meeting, the preliminary estimate was $241,446 based on recent bids in the industry.

There has been previous talk of looking into grants for lighting and during the meeting it was stated some of the contingency could possibly go toward solar lighting. Funds for landscaping and the planting of trees and shrubs are expected to come from the township tree mitigation fund.

Past discussions have also centered on getting some temporary signage, a painted crosswalk or a flashing light across Fieldcrest Road to the Park & Ride lot. It was stated the Road Commission so far appears reluctant but it was noted that will be a moot point anyway come 2023 with the planned expansion of the US-23 Flex Route. MDOT is now beginning the formal design process but preliminary plans show a roundabout to be installed in that area, meaning the commuter lot would go away.

A formal start date for the work wasn’t disclosed.