Brownstown man offers to help expand park

BROWNSTOWN — A local businessman plans to donate some more land to Brownstown to provide residents with additional recreational opportunities.

Mike Tormoehlen, who is a native of Brownstown and owns Tormoehlen Construction LLC, outlined his ideas for expanding the park during a recent town council meeting.

On July 8, 2011, the town received a 0.63-acre tract from Tormoehlen, and he now is ready to donate a 1.53-acre tract to the park. That tract, which the council accepted in 2021, presently contains a mobile home park that Tormoehlen is in the process of closing.

The town accepted the second gift in 2021, and Tormoehlen said he now has possession of the paperwork and deeds to make that exchange happen.

Down the road in three or four years, Tormoehlen said he plans to donate a 0.40-acre tract and transfer a 0.78-acre tract.

The tract the town received in 2011 contains a ravine that will need to be filled in to make it usable for a possible ball diamond, walking trail or some other use.

Tormoehlen, a 1964 graduate of Brownstown Central High School, said he also plans to help fill that ravine.

The first phase will involve removing the trees from the ravine and making that wood available for anyone needing it.

“This will take awhile,” he said.

Tormoehlen said he has received some estimates to clear the ravine of trees, but those have ranged from $25,000 to $35,000.

“… but I know there are some ways to do it much cheaper,” he said. “A few thousand dollars with minimal help from the town and basically a group of volunteers putting together a plan.”

He said a logger friend already has agreed to help along with others.

The plan would be to bring in a crane and/or an excavator, fell the trees and drag them up on a gravel parking lot where the mobile homes have sat.

That’s when people would be able to come and cut the wood.

“There are some pretty good logs, some probably 10- to 12-inch bases down to little ones,” Tormoehlen said.

Phase 2 will involve hiring an engineering firm to design the scope of the pipe and manhole needed to carry the water to the stream at the end of the ravine, he said.

“That’s the expensive part, and that’s the part that has to be contracted,” Tormoehlen said. “I see that portion being in the $50,000 to $100,000 range.”

The third phase would involve filling the ravine with clean fill from contractors and others, he said. That might take a few years.

The paved and asphalt portions of the mobile home sites also could be broken up and placed in the ravine, Tormoehlen said. That would be cheaper that hauling it somewhere else, he said.

Tormoehlen said the town could use public funds, look for grants and conduct fundraisers to pay for the project.

He said in the past, the people of the community and have stepped up and helped finance some things the town has that other communities of the same size do not.

“Most recent being the pool remodel in ‘96,” Tormoehlen said.

That project was financed through a combination of $410,000 in a bond issue, $50,000 to $75,000 in grant money and $150,000 raised by donations, he said.

When the pool was built in 1965, the cost was all paid through private donations, he said.

Tormoehlen said you could not find a town the size of Brownstown and some even bigger that has a public pool.

“I think the project is doable, and I think the project is fundable, and I will do what I can to help with it,” he said. “I will be glad to meet with anybody at any time to discuss it to see what we are looking at.”

He also said he plans to start the process of completing the second transfer of land soon.

“I would like to take this opportunity to thank you for everything you have done for the town,” Councilman Mark Reynolds said.

“Absolutely,” Councilwoman Sharon Koch said.

Tormoehlen said he and his family have enjoyed using the park over the years.

After Tormoehlen’s presentation, grant consultant Shannon McLeod told the council there is a possibility for the town to receive federal and state funds for the park project.

She said there are funds available for anything to do with recreation at this time. That would include playgrounds and even a trail or a shelter house.

“I think this is something we might be able to get you money for,” she said.