Arenac County moving forward with Point Au Gres Park and Blue Water Trail projects
Projects will hinge on receiving grant monies
ARENAC COUNTY — The Arenac County Board of Commissioners voted March 19 to move forward with plans to make improvements to Point Au Gres Park and implement a Blue Water Trail development project.
The board voted 4-1 to apply for a Michigan Department of Natural Resources Trust Fund Grant for the park improvements, and 4-1 to apply for a grant from the state’s Coastal Zone Management Program to cover the Blue Water Trail project. The proposed projects are currently estimated to cost a combined $229,250.
To cover the county’s match portions needed to successfully acquire both grants, $44,400 for the DNR grant and $25,625 for the Costal grant, needed to successfully acquire both grants, the county’s Parks and Recreation Commission plans to apply $77,500 in grant money from the Saginaw Bay Watershed Initiative Network.
If the county’s matches get covered by the SBWIN grant, it is anticipated that the grant monies would cover the rest of the project costs, if approved.
“The projects will not be completed if the grants are not attained,” Commissioner Bob Luce said at the meeting. “The deal is, if we don’t get this grant to cover our match, we won’t be committed to anything financially. The county will not be on the hook for anything.”
The county has already been working with Lapham Associates to provide conceptual engineering services, and the firm agreed to write up the grant applications. Don Hamilton of Lapham was present at the meeting to explain how the process would unfold if the resolutions were passed.
“If you don’t do the projects, I don’t get paid. Period,” Hamilton said. “I’ve never had any of the communities I’ve worked with where we got grants where they couldn’t find their match. I wouldn’t do this if I didn’t have the confidence that the county could do these projects. If Saginaw Bay Watershed Initiative Network says no, or that they may only fund part of it, I’ll scramble and find the money. I have a great deal of confidence that we’ll succeed.”
Currently, the Point Au Gres Park project would involve such improvements as putting in electrical services at the park, installing showers and a bathhouse, dock improvements and other improvements, making the park into a primary staging point for the proposed Blue Water Trail.
The Blue Water Trail project would include designing and developing the Arenac County Blue Water Trail, which would consist of putting in a bike trail and a kayaking trail on the Saginaw Bay along the coastline of Arenac County. The preliminary project costs also include promoting the trail once it is complete.