New Bayview bathrooms in the works

ALPENA — The City of Alpena is in the early stages of trying to acquire grant funding which would be used to have a new restroom facility constructed at Bayview Park.

The Alpena Municipal Council voted at its Monday meeting to carry over funding totaling $45,000 from projects slated for last fiscal year to this year’s budget. The projects included a new sound system for the bandshell at Bayview Park, demolition of the old bathroom facility near the harbor, and a portion for architectural services to have a new restroom building designed.

According to Planning and Development Director Adam Poll, an application for funding has not yet been signed off by the council, but should be up for a vote soon. He said that, once the council gives the all-clear, the proper steps will be taken to try to capture funding for the project.

Poll said that, at this point, the city intends to try to utilize money from the Michigan Economic Development Corp., which would likely need a match from the city.

In 2016, the city opened the trailhead bathroom on Woodward Avenue, utilizing $245,000 from a Michigan Department of Natural Resources grant. The city, along with other local partners, paid a $95,000 match.

Poll said it is possible the cost of the new restroom at Bayview could be similar to the traihead, but cautioned that it could cost more or less, as well, depending on how the designs come in and what bids come in.

The old bathroom has been out of service for several years because its poor condition reached a point that maintenance on it was costly. Since its closure, the city has rented portable bathrooms near the park and harbor, but Poll said that comes with a hefty bill, as well. He said that, as usage of the park increases and more events are held, the need to build a new restroom becomes more prominent.

“We are at the point to where renovations on the existing bathrooms aren’t practical for that building, and it is more practical to come up with a new design,” Poll said. “The park is busy. You have concert series that are there, movies in the park, Fourth of July fireworks, and it is really a hub of activity in the city. It is really important now that we have some sort of functioning restroom facilities where people can easily access them.”

Poll said he didn’t want to give any estimate on when the funding application would be submitted or when the MEDC would consider it. He also didn’t want to speculate on when the project could begin if the money from MEDC was awarded to the city.

Steve Schulwitz can be reached at 989-358-5689 at sschulwitz@thealpenanews.com. Follow him on Twitter @ss_alpenanews.com.