Standish receives grant for master plan update and playground equipment


STANDISH — Standish received two grants totaling $65,000 from the Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe during its fall 2 percent distribution that will go toward funding the city’s master plan update and new playground equipment.

Out of the total allotted to the city, $40,000 will go toward the master plan update while the remaining $25,000 will cover the cost of new playground equipment and a new pavilion cement floor for the children’s park adjacent to the Arenac County Fairgrounds.

The money from the grant will fully cover the master plan update, City Manager Jerry Nelson said, adding that had the city not received the grant it would have had to dip into its general fund to complete the project.

According to Nelson, the master plan is just the first step in the city becoming certified by Redevelopment Ready Communities, which would allow the city to apply to certain grants from the state.

RRC is a program run through the Michigan Economic Development Corporation that measures and certifies communities that integrate transparency, predictability and efficiency into their daily development practices, according to the MEDC website.

Along with the benefits of becoming an RRC-certified community, Nelson said the current plan is in need of an update, adding that the last master plan update occurred in 2006.

“A lot has changed since 2006 in the world and especially in Standish,” Nelson said.

Some of the changes mentioned by Nelson were the closing of the prison, the increasing number of businesses located along US-23 and the potential for the fairgrounds to be relocated along US-23.

“This allows us to refocus and reassess where we are as a city and how we are going to grow in the future with the up-to-date information,” Nelson said.

Starting in January, the city planning commission along with a representative from the East Michigan Council of Governments will start the actual process of updating the plan.

Nelson said the reason the plan had not been updated in the past was because the city was facing budget issues caused by the recession and the closing of the Standish Maximum Security Prison.

“The money was not there to do it,” Nelson said. “Now we are doing better, much better, and things like this, with the help of the tribe is just enormous because now, we can take the $40 grand and we can leave it in the general fund and that’s our rainy-day fund basically.”

In addition to updating its master plan, the city will also improve upon a playground that, Nelson said, is apparently unknown to many Standish residents.

Nelson said hopefully adding a cement flooring to the larger pavilion, making it more appealing to hosting events, and adding more equipment will increase people’s awareness of the park.

Because the city can’t afford to set aside a large amount of funds for the park, Nelson said as of now, the park has been primarily maintained by donations. He said the $25,000 grant will have a huge impact on the park.


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