City of Grayling pursuing grant for building project at the city park
Tue, 03/21/2023 - 11:00am caleb
New facility would be located at former site of the Grayling Regional Chamber of Commerce
Caleb Casey | Managing Editor
The City of Grayling has secured grant money for demolition of the now-vacant Grayling Regional Chamber of Commerce building located next to the city park, and the city is now applying for a different grant that would help construct a new community building at the site.
In January, City Manager Erich Podjaske reported to the Grayling City Council that the Chamber of Commerce board had voted in favor of selling its building to the city. The City of Grayling already owned the property, according to city officials.
The Grayling Regional Chamber of Commerce has moved out of the building and into a new location in downtown Grayling (234 E. Michigan Avenue).
Podjaske – in January – said the city was looking into a grant to pay for demolition of the former Chamber of Commerce facility, and the city council voted 5-0 to move forward with the grant process.
During a regular meeting of the Grayling City Council on Monday, March 13, Podjaske said the city had received the grant for demolition of the former chamber building. Podjaske asked the council if it wanted to proceed with pursuing a Public Gathering Spaces Initiative Grant, a program administered by the Michigan Economic Development Corporation. By consensus, the three council members present (out of five) approved the plan to proceed with the grant process.
“Michigan Economic Development Corporation Community Development Block Grant Public Gathering Spaces Initiative funds improvements intended to increase usability, accessibility, and seasonality within new or existing community spaces on publicly owned property,” according to the MEDC. “(Public Gathering Spaces Initiative) will create and enhance recreational places that will allow residents to gather, relax, celebrate, and commemorate. (Public Gathering Spaces Initiative) funds projects including, but not limited to, parks, streetscapes, town squares, playgrounds, amphitheaters, and farmers markets.”
Podjaske said the grant, if successful, would require a 10 percent match.
“The (Public Gathering Spaces Initiative) program will award (Community Development Block Grant) funding to eligible Units of General Local Government between $750,000 and $2,000,000. Eligible (Units of General Local Government) will be required to provide a minimum of a 10 percent financial match based on the project’s total cost,” according to the MEDC.
“We don’t have to put anything into it unless they approve the grant for it to move forward,” Podjaske said.
Design renderings for a new structure at the site are expected to be available next month, Podjaske said.
After the March 13 meeting, Podjaske said demolition of the former Chamber of Commerce building is expected to take place in August of 2023. Podjaske said the new building at the site – if the project is completed – would offer a multi-purpose community facility and the theme of the building would be similar to the Nature Center that is located on the other side of the city park.