Grayling Recreation Authority seeks approval of millage on Nov. 6 ballot
Dan Sanderson | Staff Writer
The Grayling Recreation Authority (GRA) will have a millage request on the Tuesday, Nov. 6, general election ballot to fund the maintenance of recreational facilities at Hanson Hills.
The Crawford County Board of Commissioners, at its regular monthly meeting on July 26, agreed to put the millage proposal on the ballot.
The .50 mills per $1,000 taxable value, which is equal to 50 cents per $1,000 of taxable value, would be levied for one year.
The purpose for the millage is to pay for improving, repairing, and maintaining recreation facilties at Hanson Hills.
The amount of revenue that will be collected is estimated to be $295,766.
The Hanson Hills Recreation Area, located in Grayling Charter Township, is operated through a lease with the State of Michigan and Department of Military and Veterans Affairs (DMVA).
The push to go to for the millage is to make repairs to the main lodge.
“We’ve done our patches here and there within our budget,” said Justin Andre, the director of operations for GRA.
Specifically, the recreation authority plans to replace the roof on the lodge and add siding to the exterior. Electrical upgrades would be made in the interior.
The GRA hopes the lodge can be used for year-round events when the upgrades are completed.
“We’re making repairs and spending all this money on heating, and everything is going right out the walls and the windows,” Andre said.
GRA staff have made upgrades such as building a barrier-free ramp and creating a barrier-free bathroom in the building.
Since the property is operated through a lease, Andre said it makes it hard to get grants from the Michigan Department of Natural Resources earmarked for recreational facilities.
“We’ve done a lot with a little during my time at GRA and we pride ourselves on that,” he said. “We have inherited a building that has had a lot of neglect.”
Over the last several years, GRA has added disc golf courses, a playground, and has maintained its softball fields. This year, the Rotary Club of Grayling funded the construction of a pavilion at Hanson Hills to host events and provide shelter for guests.
“It’s not just the hikers and bikers anymore,” Andre said.
The lease with the state runs through 2024. The lease has been renewed several times over the last 30 years.
Andre said the military helps the recreation area by doing such tasks as completing a demolition project for the Little Smokey Lodge to make way for the pavilion.
The lease stipulates that the property could be turned into a permanent encampment for the military, if ever needed.
“There’s been no plans on their end to make that happen, and we really have been good stewards with the State of Michigan and DMVA to try to figure out what we can do to help them and what they can do to help us,” Andre said.