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Land For Church Sparks Debate

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A heated controversy wmch has simmered for nearly a year in Superior Township flared-up again at last night's Township Board meeting when supervisor William A. Papineau offered to the board a contract for the transfer of township land to the New Bethel Church of God In Christ of Ypsilanti. The parcel of land in question is located on Stamford Blvd. and is being sold to the church for a minimal cost of $3,000. Under th direction of the Rev. William S. Hart, it is to be used foraproposedgroupof "dynamic self-help programs," which include remedial reading courses, professional counseling and vocational training as well as church services. The specific point, or lack of lone, in the contract which is most under fire is a reverter Iclause which would return the land to the township should the programs fail in the near future. As the contract, pre pared by Ypsilanti attorney Vanzetti Hamilton, now reads the church owns the land free and clear once the $3,000 is completely paid, even if the proposed programs should cease a week later. Led by Township Clerk Mrs Ruth Eckert, the most out-spok n and vehement of the conract's opponents, several perons present at the meeting advocated including a reverter lause for a reasonable length f time, "to protect the people of Superior Township," as Mrs. Eckert said. "I wish Rev. Hart the best and sincerely hope these programs work-out. God knows ;hey are needed," said Mrs. Eckert. "But if they don't work-out, which has happened to so many similar programs in the past, then I say the township has been stuck and stuck good.' Obvio usly ruffled at h i s board's display of temperament Papineau rcminded all present ;hat at the annual township meeting last April, "the people of this township directed the board to transfer the land's title to the church at a nominal price." While he admitted the $3,000 tag was arbitrarily arrived at, Papineau was nevertheless opposed to a "meaningless" assessment of the property, as some suggested doing. A f t e r more than an hour of rambunctious debate, the uproar quieted and a motion to approve the contract was tabled until the next meeting. With that, Rev. Hart, who had been at the center of the ment all night long, abruptly walked out of the meeting hall. Earlier in the evening, the meeting had gotten off to a rousing start with a sign of things to come when treasurer Mrs. Vera McFarlane suddenly refused to read any further in the previous week's minutes because of others on the board talking. Mrs. Eckert then finished the job. In other actions taken last night: -The same trash pick-up procedure as was used during the past year was authorized a gain heginning in April. - Robert Meyer, Grace Willis! and William Dusterhoft were' all reappointed to three-year terms on the Township Planning Commission. -Supervisor Papineau was reappointed as the township's representative to the Southeast Michigan Council of Governments (SEMCOG). - Trustee Robert H. Johnson was named as representative to the People's Community Hospital Authority (PCHA). - Personnel policies within the township fire department were clarified by Fire Chief Max Marken.