ALPENA - I took several hours and a good share of debate, but the Alpena County Youth & Recreation Committee decided how best to allocate the $629,960 available for 2013 to local projects and organization in the county. In all there were 46 requests for funds that totaled more than $1.2 million.
The recommendations will be presented to the Alpena County Board of Commissioners for final approval and then the money will be distributed to the recipients.
As in years past Plaza Pool was one of the big winners, as it was awarded $110,000 for capital outlay, an additional $85,000 for general operations and $5,000 for the Make-a-Splash program.
Last year the pool was awarded a allocation for pool improvements, but the money was never used and as a result it led to a higher number of dollars being available for next year.
The county also was approved for $63,000 for reconstruction of the tennis courts it owns behind the pool at Alpena High School and Northern Lights Arena was granted $73,000 for an indoor turf for rink one, the Ready, Set, Skate program and new rental skates at the arena.
The City of Alpena was awarded $40,000 to be used as a match to the $245,000 grant it received from the Michigan Department of Natural Resources for a trailhead in Alpena. The Alpena County MSU Extension was granted $30,000 for its 4-H programming.
2013 Youth & Recreation Allocations (Pending commissioner's approval)
- River Rats- $1,000
- Plaza Pool- Operating- $85,000
- TB Trails- $2,500
- APS Linedrive Club- $4,319
- Wilson Twp. -$4,000
- Museum- $5,000
- APS Cheer Club- $4,000
- Plaza Pool-Make-a-Splash- $5,000
- County Parks- $15,000
- Northern Lights Arena- $8,000
- Alpena Tennis Association- $7,000
- Friends of Plaza Pool- $4,250
- Babe Ruth- $3,500
- Alpena Tennis Association- $10,000
- Alpena Swim Club - $5,000
- Boys & Girls Club- $22,682
- Kiwanis Club- $4,868
- APS Volleyball Club- $7,000
- NLA Ready, Set, Skate- $10,000
- Long Lake Park- $5,400
- Sunken Lake Park- $6,000
- City of Alpena- $40,000
- M-PAC- $6,000
- APS Outreach- $18,450
- APS Girl's Basketball Club- $6,200
- Alpena County- $63,000
- APS Boys & Girls Soccer- $7,316
- Touchdown Club- $10,400
- Maple Ridge Twp.- $3,000
- APS Boy's Basketball- $3,000
- Beaver Lake Park- $5,400
- Plaza Pool- $110,000
- NEMCSA- $4,400
- MSU Extention- $30,000
- ACC Rope Course- $900
- Figure Skating Club- $8,000
- TB Soccer Association- $12,910
- Huron Shores- $26,465
- NLA Turf- $55,000
Committee Chairman Tony Suszek said the committee was limited and could not fill all of the requests 100 percent. He said careful consideration was taken before final decisions were made and he is pleased that the money is spread out throughout the county for infrastructure projects and also projects that will help make participating in local recreation more affordable.
"I think we did a good job balancing things out," Suszek said. "Sure, most groups didn't get 100 percent of what they would have liked, but we just had too many requests and not enough money. The money did go up this year, because we felt we didn't need as much money in our fund balance and because the county didn't use the funds from 2012, so the amount was larger than what we typically allocate, but so were the number of requests."
Many of the county's parks were allocated money for projects. There will be $15,000 granted for use toward new docks for the parks. Long Lake and Beaver Lake parks will each get $5,400 to have basketball courts built. Sunken Lake Park will buy new playground equipment with the $6,000 it will receive if the commissioners approve the recommendation from the committee.
Local sports organization and Alpena Public Schools will get some funds that will be used toward athletics. The school received $44,085 for various sports programs for new tumbling mats, uniforms and general operations.
The Boys and Girls Club will be able to purchase three furnaces to help heat the facility with the $22,682 it is scheduled to receive and Alpena Huron Shores Little League can make field improvements and work on other capital improvements with $26,465.
Suszek said the millage, which has one more year of allotments before it expires, has been a great benefit to many of the taxpayers in the county and there is a chance it could come up on a future ballot for renewal. He said he is sure the local entities still will need the support.
"I see all of the requests, hear the testimonials and there is a lot of need," Suszek said. "The taxpayers can base their decisions on the type of job the committee has done and I believe we have done a good job. We have been spreading the money around the county and with various organizations and if people want to know where the money went they can see everything, including photos on the county's website. The community really should be proud of everything that has been accomplished with this millage."
Steve Schulwitz can be reached via e-mail at email@example.com or by phone at 358-5689.