October 21, 2014

Commissioners approached with Pine River pier project idea

Courtesy photo
An aerial view of what the proposed project might look like upon completion.
By Matt Keeton
Staff Writer | reporter@ogemawherald.com
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STANDISH — A proposed pier structure would offer public access to the Saginaw Bay at the mouth of the Pine River, according to a presentation given to the Arenac County commissioners.

Standish Chamber of Commerce President Andrew Radatz, along with commissioner Joe Sancimino, presented the idea to the commissioners at their Feb. 1 meeting.

Radatz said the structure would consist of a walkway along the Pine River, leading to a pier that would jut out from the mouth of the river into the Saginaw Bay. He said that the proposed structure would offer the area multiple benefits, including handicap-accessible public access to the Saginaw Bay and potential for increased tourism. He estimated the cost of constructing the proposed structure to be around $3.5 million.

Sancimino said that while no definite funding sources have been determined, he said there is the possibility of receiving financial support from local foundations and state and federal funding.

“There are some realistic funding opportunities available,” Sancimino said. “We aren’t just spinning our wheels here.”

Radatz added that the pier structure would also prevent backflow of silt into the river over time. Sancimino added that by preventing an influx of silt into the river, there would be the potential for improved fishing in the Pine River.

“(The river) doesn’t have the depth it used to have,” Sancimino said. “We could get more fish to go up the river.”

Radatz said the land on which the structure would be built currently belongs to the Department of Natural Resources. He said the DNR has been receptive to the idea, though he said it has not yet been determined whether ownership of the land would have to be transferred over to the county for the project to proceed.

Radatz said a committee to develop the project has been formed, consisting of himself; Sancimino; Floyd Bender, owner of the White’s Beach Resort in Standish; and Ryan Klenk, owner of the Design Company in Standish. He said the committee continues to rally support for the project.

Sancimino said he will draft a sample motion of support for the project to present to the other commissioners at their Feb. 15 meeting on behalf of the Pine River Pier Project Committee.

Radatz said that if the commissioners approve the motion, a letter of support will be submitted to the pier project committee by the commissioners.

“Basically, support from the county commissioners would make this a viable project,” Radatz said.

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