Au Gres receives $75K grant for splash pad at Harbor Park

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Au GRES — The city of Au Gres received a $75,000 grant May 31 to support the design and construction of a splash pad at the Harbor Park property.

The grant came from the Healthy Living Fund, through the Bay Area Community Foundation.

Construction for the splash pad is scheduled to begin in May 2020, so it will be ready for the summer season, City Manager Dale Wiltse said.

“The award of a grant of this amount through an organization like the Bay Area Community Foundation is a major factor in making this project a success,” Wiltse said. “Without partners like them, many of our features would not be possible.”

The Healthy Living Grant covers a large portion of the $130,000 cost of the pavilion project, Wiltse said, with other funding coming from a $100,000 grant the city received from the Michigan Economic Development Corporation back in December.

Other funding from the MEDC grant was used to match grants for other additions in the Harbor Park property.

He added that the City of Au Gres Parks and Recreation Department is creating a corporate donation plan to raise revenue in an effort to add additional features to the splash pad.

The splash pad is one of many features scheduled to be added at the former Michigan Department of Natural Resources Harbor of Refuge site along the Au Gres River, Wiltse said. Other plans include a farmers market pavilion, updated bathrooms, fishing piers, a playground and a welcome center.

An accessible kayak launch was constructed at the Harbor Park property earlier in May and is available to be used by anyone interested in exploring the Au Gres River.

The city received a $30,000 grant from the Saginaw Bay Watershed Initiative Network to go toward the Americans with Disabilities Act-compliant kayak launch.

Construction of the 40- by 68-foot pavilion with a steel roof has begun, and a portion of the bath facilities will be available for summer.

The construction of the pavilion will be primarily funded by a U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development grant and funds from the city’s Tax Increment Financing Authority Board, along with the MEDC grant, Wiltse said.

The city of Au Gres was also granted $17,660 at the Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe’s semiannual 2 percent distribution to go toward the construction of the pavilion along with some picnic benches.

Wiltse said the park is meant to be a centralized social gathering area when completed and will hopefully add to the city’s status as a tourist destination

The Bay Area Community Foundation awards grants twice a year to local nonprofits and 501(c)(3)s in Bay and Arenac counties.

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