By: Benjamin J. Gohs, Associate Editor
Major improvements could be made along South Park Street in Boyne City from Water Street past the Boyne District Library.[private]
The proposed street and sewer project could go forward if the State of Michigan Oks a $719,000 grant application for the Downtown Improvement Grant (DIG) from the Michigan Economic Development Corporation.
“We (will apply) for improvements for Park Street, basically south of Water to Pine, which is probably the worst street that we have remaining in the downtown area,” said Boyne City Manager Michael Cain during the Sept. 27 Boyne City Commission meeting. “It’s one that we’ve kind of been band-aiding along. We’ve put a topcoat on it from Ray Street up to Water Street probably about five or six years ago now because the surface was deteriorating so bad, but we knew that the infrastructure underneath it – the water and sewer lines – needed to be replaced as well.”
He added, “It requires a deep dig similar to what we had on Water and Lake streets previously.”
If approved, the grant would require a 30 percent local match.
“Despite that cap, the road continuing to the south over by the library and over there by the early learners center … is continuing to deteriorate. It’s in very bad shape. The curb lines are bad there. We have pedestrian circulation issues,” Cain said. “We’d like that opportunity to resubmit this grant to the state. When we applied for it last time one of the things that worked against us was the number of active grants we had at that time. Those grants are being closed out so we should be more eligible in that respect. In addition, communities that did receive DIG grants last time are not eligible to be awarded a grant this time.”
DIG funds may be used only for downtown related infrastructure improvements.
“All the needs are still there – if not more so than last year,” Cain said. “This has a lot of support of residents and businesses in the area.”
Cain said some of the matching funds would come out of main street funds.
“Some of it would come out of water and sewer system improvement funds and other funds would come out of our street improvement program too,” he added.
Hugh Conklin said the Boyne City Main Street Program rated this project as a top priority.
Boyne City Commissioner Delbert Towne said the city definitely needs to maintain infrastructure.
Boyne City Commissioner Laura Sansom agreed that stretch of road is one of the worst in town.
“I’m all for getting whatever money we can through a grant program,” she said. “I would like to see us push forward and somehow to bury those lines.”
She said those phone poles are a terrible eyesore to the downtown area.
Mike Cummings said if the grant is not successful the city should plan on putting money away for the project in future budget years.
Cain said the street in question may be considered by the state to be out of the downtown but that he feels it should count due to the number of churches and other historic structures in the area.
Commissioners voted unanimously to approve Cain’s effort to apply for the funds.[/private]