Parks prepare for summer ‘09


ARENAC COUNTY — The Arenac County Parks Board started to put forth its 2009 agenda at a meeting on Thursday, March 19 and it signifies two things – summer isn’t far off and the parks are looking for ways to boost attendance and revenue.

One way the board is hoping to peak some interest in visiting Oasis Lake and AuGres parks, which are tentatively scheduled to be open from noon until 8 p.m. everyday, weather permitting, includes featuring a band twice a month at each location.

According to Parks Board Chairman Ronald Branda, the bands will be compensated with use of the parks and a pavilion, as well as four free car passes. The parks board hopes the bands can help increase attendance by offering an entertainment outlet for park goers.

Branda also says some steps are being taken to improve the visibility of the AuGres Park to passing vehicles.

He says the board is looking into making changes to the AuGres park sign on US-23 just west of Santiago Road.

“It’s a 30-inch by 60-inch sign, kind of small,” Branda said. “I’m going to call M-DOT (Michigan Department of Transportation) and see what we can do. They’re the ones that handle all of the signs. We’re (parks board) going to see what our options are…hopefully help people spot the sign quicker.”

Equipment wise, the board hopes some additional items can lead to smoother, more convenient operations.

First, Branda says the parks will receive a truck from the road commission.

“They’re (Arenac County Road Commission) replacing an old truck, so I’m going to go to a road commission meeting to request the truck,” Branda said, adding a formal request was the only term set forth by the road commission for the parks to obtain the truck.

He also says the board submitted its 2-percent tribal requests for new pieces of equipment such as a Gator utility vehicle for each park, paddle boats for Oasis Lake, and replacement playground equipment for the next round of allocations coming in May.

Another 2-percent class-three revenue sharing request made by the parks board is for weatherization of the cabins in AuGres

“The weatherization is something that needs to be done every few years to the cabins since they’re made of logs,” Branda said.

Both parks are slated to open Friday, May 22 and continue operating until Labor Day, Sept. 7, says Branda.

“The employees will start getting things ready that Monday (prior to May 22) to make sure they’re (parks) ready,” Branda said.

At a meeting of the parks board, Parks Supervisor Floyd Wisenbaugh made known the parks weren’t completely ready for opening last year, causing a bit of chaos.

“If I had my way, we’d start a week early,” Wisenbaugh said. “Last year, we (employees) were still at Oasis and hadn’t gotten to AuGres yet when we opened.”

The parks board still needs to hire two employees for the parks as well. Branda says applicants will be interviewed by a committee consisting of himself; Wisenbaugh and parks board members Joseph Sancimino, James Herzog and Larry Davis.


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