September 19, 2014

Standish City Council wants more time on park decision

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STANDISH — The City of Standish is being cautious before making a decision on a proposal from the Arenac County Parks Board to give the city a park on Airpark Drive.

Parks board chairman Ronald Branda told the Standish City Council that the parks board would take care of all legal documentation and will transfer the property over to the city for $1.

“You’re the only group we are considering giving the property to,” he said at the city council meeting held Dec. 16. “If you don’t want it, we will hang on to it.”

Discussion of donating the park, known as Children’s Park, was brought up at a city council meeting in November. Branda said in a previous interview that the parks board wants to give the park to the city because there is not a lot of money for the parks board to maintain the Children’s Park, which is located north of the Arenac County Fairgrounds.

City Manager Mike Moran said if the city were to take the park then it would have to be surveyed. He said that a survey would cost between $2,000 and $3,000.

“That is a lot of money, and our (budget) is really tight right now,” he said. “This is a very generous offer, and we like the property, but we need more time to review it.”

Mayor Pro Tem Jerry Nelson asked Branda if the parks board would consider splitting the cost of the survey. Branda responded that the parks board would consider that option.

Branda said the council can take its time with a decision.

“There is no time table on this,” he said. “If you want, we can discuss this further a couple months down the road.”

As a way to cut cost, Branda said that a local Eagle Scout troop has offered to clean up the site.

“We have a Scout group that wants to clean up the park for a project, and we (the parks board) gave them the OK,” he said.

In a previous interview, Branda said that he has written grants for new equipment and the updating of old equipment at the park totaling around $20,000, and that the park is currently being used as a rest area for families passing through Standish.

Branda added that one main concern the parks board has with keeping the park is the cost of maintenance.

“We have attendance at Oasis Park and Point AuGres Park,” Branda said. “We have to bring equipment and personnel from those parks to (maintain) Children’s Park.”

Branda said that a maintenance worker is paid $8.50 an hour to work at all of the parks. He added that if the city won’t take the park, the parks board will continue to maintain it.

“We will hope for more donations and continue to maintain it as best we can,” Branda said.

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