Monday, November 2, 2009

Update on the Colony Farm Orchard

If you've seen my recent video on the Colony Farm Orchard controversy (posted Friday, October 2, 2009), you'll remember that House Bill 5207, the bill that would effectively erase the open space restrictions on the property, was on it's way to the Michigan Senate for deliberation. Well, it's still in the Senate waiting for a vote. It's been on hold now for a couple weeks as the Senate wrestles with a burdensome state budget.

This pause in the process offers an opportunity for some much needed dialogue, one of the reasons I produced the video. To that end, now is a perfect time to contact Senator Tom George, State Senator for the 20th district, and express your support or opposition to House Bill 5207 and WMU's intentions to expand the BTR Park onto the Orchard. I've also provided links to other key players in the process and debate. In addition to Senator George, they're also worth contacting.
With election day tomorrow, it's important that we participate in the political process either with our vote or our voices. There's no better time than right now.

George represents the 20th District which includes all of Kalamazoo County. He has expressed his support of HB 5207 and WMU's plans to expand the BTR Park onto the Orchard.

As the Majority Leader, Bishop is in charge of the Senate agenda and is conducting a straw poll on the Orchard, based on phone calls, letters and e-mails received either in opposition or in favor of HB 5207.

Most of the dialogue over the Orchard has been through the Gazette, in articles, Viewpoints and Letters to the Editor. You can either write to be published or even comment on existing content through the comment forum online.

This is a Facebook page started by WMU students in opposition to development of the Orchard. 

President of Western Michigan University. The Gazette published Dunn's Viewpoint in September 2009: WMU remains committed to jobs & green space.

The most vocal neighborhood association in opposition to expanding the BTR Park onto the Orchard. The Gazette published a Viewpoint by the co-presidents of ODWNA: Business park is wrong use for orchard

Representative Jones introduced HB 5207, which was passed by the Michigan House in September 2009.

Richard Brewer, a former WMU professor, biological scientist, and author, has vocally opposed WMU's intentions through his website (the link above) and a Gazette viewpoint: CFO supposed to be used for public, not private, purpose.

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