Rogers City’s Avenue of Flags plan shelved, for now
ALPENA — A plan to redesign the Avenue of Flags in Rogers City has been shelved, but the redevelopment of the Rogers City marina still has a chance to become a reality.
On Wednesday, the city learned that a grant application request for a $2.2 million Community Development Block Grant via the Michigan Economic Development Corp. was denied.
The money would have been used for large-scale improvements at the marina and to reconstruct and design a portion of Michigan Avenue where the Avenue of Flags is located.
Mayor Scott McLennan said the denial of the funds stalls the Avenue of Flags project, but Rogers City has already applied for federal funds that could save the marina project.
The preliminary plan for the marina includes enlarging customer service areas, improving boater showers and restrooms, adding a second story with meeting and office space to the boaters facility, creating a covered picnic space, and creating a larger greenspace that could include a tiki bar and fire pit.
McLennan said the MEDC scored the city’s funding application high, but it lost points because it received a similar grant for utility and street improvements on First Avenue. He said in an effort to keep the project alive, City Manager Joe Hefele submitted another grant request seeking nearly $1.3 million for the marina. The grant request was submitted to the U.S. Department of Labor and Economic Opportunities and city officials should know if the request is approved on or about Oct. 23.
If the grant request is approved, Rogers City would need to provide a $142,000 match.
“For the first grant, we checked all of the boxes, except we had just received a grant for the water project on First Street,” McLennan said. “We knew that was a possibility, but it’s always worth a try. Hopefully we’ll be more successful with the new grant request,”
Preliminary renderings of the Michigan Avenue project show the westbound lane of the street would be scrapped and a new park built alongside the Avenue of Flags where traffic flowers now. The eastbound lane would become a two-way traffic street. The roadside park would include picnic tables, benches, art, and signage and create a place for people to congregate.
McLennan said although the project will be placed on the back burner for now, he didn’t rule out that the project, or elements of it, can be done with strictly city funds.
“We may be able to do it within our own budget, because much of it is just the removal of pavement,” he said. “But, for now, we are looking toward addressing the marina if we can first.”