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State funding to aid several large projects in Alpena

News photo by Steve Schulwitz Boys and Girls Club of Alpena staff member Emmy LaFleche serves dinner to children while working at the club on Thursday. The club received a grant from the state for $500,000 to help cover the cost of building a new facility.

ALPENA — Several large projects in Alpena will receive hundreds of thousands of dollars thanks to Governor Gretchen Whitmer signing off on the 2021-22 state budget.

The Boys and Girls Club of Alpena will receive $500,000 to put toward the construction of a new club at the site of the former Alpena Catholic Central High School on Miller Street. The new club will nearly triple its current space, and bring expanded services to support the organization’s mission.

The project is scheduled to break ground next January.

In a press release Thursday, Executive Director Brad Somers said he is thankful to those in Lansing who supported the project and helped secure the funding. The money, Somers said, will help provide the kids in Alpena the type of club they deserve and need.

“We extend our gratitude to Representative Sue Allor and Senator Jim Stamas for their leadership and advocacy on behalf of the Boys and Girls Club of Alpena,” Somers said. “These funds bring us one step closer to realizing our dream of creating a first-class community facility delivering high-quality programs to empower youth and foster the next generation of leaders.”

Allor said bringing as much funding as she can to Northeast Michigan is always one of her top priorities, especially money that will be used to improve the lives of kids.

“I have always been a strong advocate for ensuring that as many of our tax dollars as possible find their way back to our region,” Allor said. “For that reason, I am thrilled this project, which directly benefits the children of our community, and will have a positive impact on their futures, was chosen for funding in this project.”

Long Lake Park, which is owned by Alpena County, will receive $300,000 for a project to completely move and redesign the boat launch at the campground.

Commissioner Bob Adrian said the current boat launch needs major work.

He said the launch will move to the southeast corner of the campground, near the pavilion, and will include four launches, a pair of docks, a bathroom, and an upgraded parking lot. The county has already received other grants and now there is about $700,000 committed to the project, Adrian said.

The estimated cost of the project in 2019 was $600,000, but he said that estimate may be higher now, as material costs and inflation are added in.

Still, he said, there should be enough money to move forward.

“We are hoping to break ground and begin some work this fall, and then put out bids for the larger portion of the work this winter,” he said. “Then we could start work again as soon as the ice thaws.”

Adrian said the conditions of the grant requires it to use energy efficient lighting, and have a restroom available to the public year round.

“This project is shovel-ready and ready to go,” he said.

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

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