September 1, 2014

Account to open for Pine River pier project

By James Kuch
News Editor | news@arenacindependent.com
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STANDISH — The Arenac County Commissioners approved the creation of an account to accept donations for the proposed Pine River pier project at a meeting held Tuesday, July 5.

County Commissioner Joe Sancimino sad the creation of an account is a “big step” for the project and will allow the county to accept tax-deductible donations.

“This is big news for everyone involved in the project,” he said. “We are now going to be able to accept donations that will go directly toward the completion of the project. This gives us a vehicle to accept donations.”

Standish Chamber of Commerce President Andrew Radatz said the project is moving in the right direction.

“I have corporate sponsors across Michigan who have already given me the green light, telling me they have my back for this project,” he said.

In February, Radatz explained that a pier could be constructed at the mouth of the Pine River on the Saginaw Bay. He said that the proposed structure would offer the area multiple benefits, including handicapped-accessible public access to the Saginaw Bay and potential for increased tourism. He estimated the cost of constructing the pier to be around $3.5 million.

Radatz said funding would have to come from state and federal grants, as well as donations and sponsors.

“We will need to combine all of the above,” he said.

Sancimino said the proposed pier could be constructed without funding from the county, but the county is acting as a “vehicle” for the project.

“All of the parties involved want the project to be constructed without funding from the county,” he said. “We just don’t have the funding.”

Sancimino said the county will continue to support the project.

“We are behind this project 100 percent,” he said. “With the county behind it, this project has credibility.”

Radatz said the creation of the account was a plus for years of work and planning he has done.

“I think that if this project is completed, they may name it after me,” he said jokingly. “I have been doing work on this for over four years and the county began to back us two years ago.”

Radatz said every dollar that can be donated will be accepted.

“We won’t be turning any dollar away,” he said. “Every little bit we make will further our progress.”

Radatz said in February that over time, the construction of a pier could prevent backflow into Pine River, preventing an influx of silt into the river.

He added the land where the structure would be constructed currently belongs to the Department of Natural Resources. He said the DNR has been receptive to the idea, though he said it has not yet been determined whether ownership of the land would have to be transferred over to the county for the project to proceed.

The committee to create the project includes Radatz, Sancimino, Floyd Bender, owner of the White’s Beach Resort in Standish, and Ryan Klenk, owner of the Design Company in Standish.

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