2017-01-12 / Local News

52-year coffee club spurned by twp.

By Patti Brandt Burgess
Of The Enterprise staff

The International Coffee Club has been left out in the cold, at least until April, after the Leland Township Board declined to let the club meet in the Leland Harbor building.

Club member Wayne Wunderlich brought the request to the board on Monday. The request died for lack of a motion, drawing no support from the board.

“This particular facility is timely, it’s usable, it fits the bill and we are seeking somewhere to meet,” Wunderlich said.

The club, which has been meeting in Leland for 52 years, needs the building from 9-10:30 a.m. every day but Sunday for the rest of January, February and March.

Members have been meeting at the Leland Lodge since the closing and demolition of the Leland fire station in fall 2015. But the restaurant recently informed the club that its winter hours had been changed.

Wunderlich said he had discussed the issue with Russell Dzuba, the harbor master, who Wunderlich said was agreeable.

But Dzuba later expressed some concerns with board members, said Susan Och, township supervisor.

Dzuba normally spends his mornings making sure the docks are free of ice and doesn’t get around to clearing ice and snow from sidewalks and the harbor parking lot until after 11 a.m.

Wunderlich argued that the harbor building sits there heated and unused. He said the sidewalks and lot not being plowed would not be an issue.

He said he also doesn’t understand why the club is being met with such resistance and negativity, adding that through the years nearly 500,000 people have met for morning coffee in Leland.

“And so far it’s worked just fine,” Wunderlich said.

Clerk Jane Keen was the only board member to speak out.

“You’re talking like this is a building that is paid for by local taxpayers and it’s not,” Keen said.

The harbor building was built with a grant from the Michigan Waterways Commission; funds for its maintenance come from boaters.

Several members of the club and the community were upset when the plans for the new fire station lacked a community room that could be used for the club and for other local groups.

New fire stations in Leelanau and Suttons Bay townships have community meeting rooms. So does the Cedar fire hall, which was built several years ago.

Lake Leelanau resident Steve Mikowski, speaking during public comment, urged the township to add a township hall at the new fire station.

“I think that’s a very peculiar development and it seems to me like an anti-community attitude,” Mikowski said.

Och also said that a request to change the township meeting time from 7:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. will be discussed at the February 13 board meeting.

In other business the board:

 Approved the date for the third annual Kristie Memorial Triathlon for June 17.

 Reappointed Elmer Hohnke, Brad Muir and Jon Stimson to two-year terms on the Board of Review.

 Appointed Mark Galla to the Sewer Commission. Galla, who fills the term vacated by Tim Cypher, will serve until July 2018.

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