January 19, 2019

Au Gres receives $100K grant for Harbor Park project

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Au GRES — The city of Au Gres received a $100,000 grant from the Michigan Economic Development Corporation to go toward the development of the city’s Harbor Park site.

While the funding is not set aside for any specific part of the project, City Manager Dale Wiltse said the grant will be used primarily to secure other grants that require matching funds from the city.

“There are a lot of grants out there that won’t fund a whole project, they will fund a portion of it,” Wiltse said. “Most organizations feel that, that way, you have invested interest in that project.”

Wiltse said the other grants and matching funds will support some of the additions the city had initially planned for the property.

While the city has several things planned for the property in the long run, Wiltse has said in past interviews that the top priorities for the city right now are a pavilion, playground, fishing piers and a kayak launch.

At its November meeting, the Au Gres City Council approved the design and construction of a farmers market pavilion at the Harbor Park property. The structure will be an open-air, 40x68-foot pavilion with a steel roof, and the city hopes to have it completed by Memorial Day 2019. The pavilion is just one of the first additions that will be supported by matching funds from the MEDC grant.

Some of the appeal the project has in the grant seeking process is the fact that the property has not been utilized and has been empty for some time now, Wiltse said.

“That property was deeded to the city by the Michigan DNR,” Wiltse said. “They, being the state of Michigan, want to see it developed. It has sat vacant for close to 15 years. It’s a premium piece of property that should be developed so it can be used by the public.”

Along with the Harbor Park property, the city has been looking into updating some of the local sports fields, Wiltse said, adding that he is in the process of applying for grants for those projects as well.

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