County approves financial aid for Alma pocket park & Perrinton basketball court

By Ralph Echtinaw

County commissioners approved grants of $50,000 and $30,000 on Tuesday to Alma and Perrinton, respectively, to help pay for a “pocket park” in Alma and a basketball court in Perrinton.

The pocket park would be situated on the north side of Superior Street between Strand Theater and Community Arts Center. The plan is to replace the asphalt surface with stamped concrete resembling brick work elsewhere in downtown Alma. Decorative bollards would be situated on the north and south ends of the park to keep vehicles out. 

The project is expected to cost $200,000. Alma requested $80,000 from the county’s parks and recreation millage grant program, but that amount is all the county had to give, and there were two requests for money. So Alma gets $30,000 less than it requested.

Alma City Manager Aeric Ripley said the project will go forward even though the city didn’t get what it asked for from the county.

The Perrinton basketball court will replace two tennis courts on the northwest corner of West Allor and South Robinson in the southern Gratiot village. It’s expected to cost $54,176.

Administrator interviews set

Commissioners set a date and times to interview four applicants who want to replace County Administrator Tracey Cordes, who retires Feb. 28.

The interviews will take place at 10 a.m., 11 a.m., 1 p.m. and 2 p.m. on Tuesday, March 7.

Read more about the recruiting and interview process in THIS Sentinel article of Feb. 10.

Cordes remarks

The retiring administrator attended what will probably be her last county commission meeting Tuesday and had this to say: “I want to take an opportunity to wish all of you the very best in tackling the issues that are in front of

you. In Gratiot County I have worked with top-notch staff. I have found the very best right here in Gratiot County. 

“This place is filled with talent and community-minded people and public servants. And your staff are top notch. They are worthy of your appreciation and respect. I know you’ll keep that in mind. 

“This is a perfect way to close out a career. You can’t ask for anything better, and I’m grateful to all of you.”

County Administrator Tracey Cordes

“This place is filled with community-minded people. I’ve built many wonderful relationships here, and we’ve been able to do good things for Gratiot County. 

“I’ve gone from, in a single day, talking about and meeting about wind turbine taxation and then an airport and then an abandoned body in the morgue. It’s just been such a such a variety, and it’s been certainly very satisfying and enough to keep me from getting bored for quite some time. 

“This is a perfect way to close out a career. You can’t ask for anything better, and I’m grateful to all of you.”

Oosterhoff chimes in

Finance Director Chris Oosterhoff had this to say about Cordes: 

“Five years ago when I first met Tracy she asked me to help create a financial services (department) for the county. And I’ll tell you it’s been probably one of the most exciting, influential, frustrating, amazing things that I’ve ever done. Tracy has been an amazing partner. She and I are not a whole lot alike, and that has actually made the process that much better, being able to work with somebody who views things differently, approaches things different than you. I want to thank you again. You will probably be the most influential person during my career.”

Oosterhoff then read a resolution honoring Cordes on her retirement, which was approved unanimously.

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