Boyne City Veterans Park pavilion project design phase to continue

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By Benjamin Gohs

News Editor

The Boyne City Commission approved a proposal—with a vote of 4-1—to hire Environmental Architects, at a cost of $10,500 plus expenses, to complete the design phase of the Veterans Park pavilion option “2” renovation and addition.

According to a Feb. 11 memo from Boyne City Main Street Manager Hugh Conklin—whose group is spearheading the pavilion renovation project—to the Boyne City Commission, completion of the design phase should put Boyne City in a better position to receive any available grant moneys, and to help with its fund-raising campaign if and when the renovation plan is executed.

“We completed the Veterans Park charrette in December. From that charrette we came up with three concepts. One was a low impact. One was a new roof and addition. And then one was a new roof and addition and moving the pavilion to a different location in Veterans Park,” Conklin said. “The charrette generated broad community support—we had more than 80 people participate—I know the city commission participated, many of the users of the pavilion participated. It was a really great process.”

The project is being funded in part by a $12,500 Michigan Economic Development Corporation grant as well as $1,500 from the Charlevoix County Community Foundation.

The first phase of the project has cost nearly $8,000.

“What are we going to do with the information we’ve learned?” Conklin said.

The matching fund requirement to fund the design phase will be funded by the Main Street Board and the farmers market committee.

The tentative plan is to have the design work completed for option “2” which involves using the basic infrastructure of the current pavilion while expanding the footprint to include a storage room, kitchen area and more floorspace. Additionally, the restrooms would ideally be renovated, two picnic areas would be added, a new peaked roof and retractable garage-style doors would be installed.

“One of the things that we need to discuss is the location,” Conklin said. “At this point, we’re not wading into that territory at all. With the city hall under review—and the possibilities for this site and how it might relate to Veterans Park pavilion—we’re not in any position to make a recommendation on moving the pavilion. But, we are in a position that we encourage the commission to support the design concept “2.”

He added, “At some point in the future if the decision is made to move it that work won’t be wasted. We’ll have the design and in the meantime we’ll be able to get going on some fund-raising and capital fund-raising campaign and grants.”

Boyne City Commissioner Derek Gaylord said the project originally started as a wintertime location for the Boyne City Farmers Market but has since “branched out.”

“There’s no doubt they are nice renderings and presentations—the initial concept price on this was $647,000—not chump change,” Gaylord said… “A number of people I have talked to, that did not attend any of the events and the presentation, I’ve asked what’s your opinion on it, I wanted feedback … and the overwhelming majority of the feedback outside of the folks that were part of the process that I’ve encountered are ‘A nice someday project but not right now’—’We’ve got other priorities,’ has been the overwhelming consensus.”

Gaylord said the design work could be completed from the concepts and public input already garnered at any time in the future.

“I’m not in favor of proceeding even with getting the designs done because human nature says, when we get that done we want to start rolling ahead,” Gaylord said… “And, generally, that’s not a bad thing. But, with the city facilities project and how that’s going to go and due to the nature and size of that … I think we need to keep our eye on the ball.”

Boyne City Commissioner Laura Sansom asked if the grant for the design work would be lost if the design work was not undertaken. Conklin said that is correct.

Sansom said most of the comments she has received were in support of the pavilion though she had received a few concerns from people wondering if the city could do both the facilities and the pavilion project simultaneously.

“I don’t see this interfering with that,” Sansom said… “We can do multiple things at multiple times and we do approach a lot of different projects at the same time.”

Boyne City Commissioner Delbert “Gene” Towne said he is OK with moving forward with the project, saying he believes the facility would be used year-round.

Boyne City Commissioner Tom Neidhamer said it behooves the city to move forward with the project and agreed that the city can handle more than one improvement project at a time.

Boyne City Mayor Ron Grunch said the city needs to be ready to take advantage of grants, and to continue in good faith with a project the community for which the community has shown support.

Gaylord was the lone “no” vote.