While much has changed in two years: One Water Street is complete, a bike path to Young State Park has been approved for funding, and the Dilworth Hotel looks like it may once again be utilized – some things have not: the Boyne Beach Club project remains at a standstill and the fate of city hall, Fire, EMS and DPW remain unknown.
City officials have scheduled the next city-wide goal-setting session for mid-January 2012, and in anticipation of that meeting the Boyne City Gazette contacted some local officials and business owners to get their input on the state of Boyne City’s goals list from 2009.
“I think the top two – job creation and retention – are the ones that we are most pleased about,” said Boyne City Manager Michael Cain. “Obviously we are happy with the number of new businesses we’ve been able to bring into town, especially with Precision Edge, and other businesses we’ve been able to keep in the area.”
Cain said one of the major challenges the city faces is retaining the businesses which do locate in Boyne.
“That ties into number two on the list: maintaining a healthy local business base,” he said.
Cain the goals list is a good benchmark for measuring progress, but added even goals that have been attained cannot be forgotten if the city wishes to continually improve itself.
“The DDA plan is done and that is something we will not have to address for a number of years,” he said. “All these things you need to stay on top of even with items one and two – just because you make good progress doesn’t mean you can let up on it so you have a cyclical affect and a continued foundation for successes.”
Cain said he is pleased with the infrastructure improvements on items like roads and water system upgrades, and that he anticipates the city looking into alternative energy sources to save money in the future.
Shirley Matz, owner of Boyne Family Barber Shop said the number one goal she would like to see addressed is the ambulance station issue.
“I know they have been working on that,” she said. “I think that and the police and fire need to be situated differently.”
Matz said she would also like to see a solution found for the Devlon property.
“They’re starting to call it pigeon park,” she said. “It’s an eyesore.” Matz added, “I think they (city officials) have done a great job so far. What a great little town it’s turned out to be.”
Wes Dilworth, owner of Dilworth Yacht Brokers said he thinks Boyne City is meeting the challenge of accomplishing its goals.
“Keep doing what we’re doing,” he said. “I think we have a magical formula going.”
Dilworth added, “I do a lot of traveling and hear from a lot of people who say it is really great here – I was in Harbor Springs and heard from a merchant who asked me how Harbor Springs could be more like Boyne City – I nearly fell off my chair.”
Dilworth said he would like to see the city move its facilities off the waterfront in the long-term.
As for the Devlon property, Dilworth said as the economy improves it will eventually be developed by someone.
“The storefronts are full and the merchants are happy,” Dilworth said. “I think Boyne City had a good year this year and you can tell by looking downtown at the parking spaces – they’re all taken up and that’s a good indicator right there.”
Country Now and Then/Up The Lazy River owner Karen Guzniczak said, among other things, she would like to see the Dilworth Hotel up and running again.
“I would like to see more shoppers docks so more boaters can come into town,” she said. “I would like to see a way for Boyne City to do more downstate and out-of-state promotions and for Boyne City to have more local support for all the local businesses to keep business going.”
Guzniczak added, “We need to be able to recruit more businesses for a more health vibrant downtown.”
Solving the issues with the cities facilities is also on Guzniczak’s list.
“I would like to see them cleaned up or relocated because the building sits on the water,” she said. “I’d like to see something done to make it a more attractive area.” Guzniczak added that she would like to see Devlon remove the fence around its waterfront property and clean it up until it is ready to develop the lot.
Marty Moody, a Boyne City Public Schools Board of Education member and realtor with Lynda’s Realestate Service said the Devlon property is at the top of his to-do list.
“I would love to see them get something done there,” he said. “They need to do what they should have done to begin with and put it to a vote of the city taxpayers and see if they want it to be a park, then exercise eminent domain and go through that process.”
Moody said his number two goal is to see the Dilworth developed into a viable business again.
“Let’s find a buyer who wants to run it for the right reasons,” he said. “I’d love to see that building returned to its glory days.”
Moody said his third goal would be to ensure the city-owned waterfront property is developed for public use, such as parks.
“We don’t need every inch of this waterfront developed into condos,” he said. “That’s not what this town needs.”
Boyne Area Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Jim Baumann said he would like to see the city maintain its high quality of life.
“Attractions and parks, things like that will make the community a better place to live and that’s what brings people to town to either start a business, visit or live,” he said. “I think we’re doing a great job, I just don’t want us to let up.”
“The list is pretty comprehensive and is keeping us busy,” Cain said. “We’re always looking for new opportunities, but it is great to focus on our priorities.”
He added, “I just want to make sure we stay responsible and flexible enough to jump on that opportunity as soon as possible.”
Cain said the city has done a good job of remaining positive throughout the recession, even going so far as to lower taxes twice.
While the commission adopted its list of goals directly from input provided by both the public and various city officials, Cain said it is the commission, ultimately, which must decide how the city proceeds.
“We believe it is important to get feedback from the entire community and get all ideas out on the table whether you think they are farfetched or not,” Cain said. “There might be something someone is thinking that we might not have come up with.”
The Boyne City goal-setting session is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. On Thursday Jan. 12 at St. Matthews Parish Hall.