Wexford Co. finally moving forward with DNR grant

The 1000 Watt Prophets performed at Barley, BBQ, and Beats at the Wex auditorium in this May 2019 Cadillac News file photo. On Dec. 17, Michigan Department of Natural Resources Director Dan Eichinger sent correspondence to Wexford County, Networks Northwest, and the Alliance for Economic Success saying their application to receive a Recreation Passport local development grant was approved. By the end of the month, the Wexford County should have the bids to replace the HVAC system at the Wexford County Civic Center.

CADILLAC — By the end of the month, a local recreation facility should have the bids to replace a large ticket item that should improve operations.

Bidding documents were published on Sept. 1 regarding improvements to the heating and cooling systems at the Wexford County Civic Center. Since the bidding documents were published, five contractors have attended the required site visit to the facility.

The bid opening is scheduled for Sept. 23 with a potential award of the bid at the Wexford County Board of Education's first meeting in October.

Wexford County Administrator Janet Koch said like many things, COVID-19 slowed the process.

"Everything is behind due to COVID. We were just writing the specs for the bids when the DNR told us everything was on hold for grant projects," she said. "We thought it would be done in the summer and it just didn't happen."

She said if everything lines up the project should be done in the fall but may have to wait until the spring. Potential delays include the availability of the contractor and/or equipment they will be installing.

On Dec. 17, Michigan DNR Director Dan Eichinger sent correspondence to Wexford County, Networks Northwest, and the Alliance for Economic Success saying their application to receive a Recreation Passport local development grant was approved. The application asked for $95,000, which is the amount of the grant.

The application for the grant funding was made to help pay for the replacement of the heating, ventilation, and air conditioning system in the Wex’s auditorium. The HVAC system, which dates back to the 1970s in the auditorium, is one of the most critical needs at the facility, according to Boon Sports Management and Friends of the Wex spokesperson Mike Figliomeni.

A local match between $30,000-$35,000 also was needed, which was generated by several donations.

The Rotary Club of Cadillac voted to use money generated from the annual Rotary auction to help BSM purchase new HVAC equipment. The Rotary presented BSM with a check for $32,250. The Cadillac Area Visitors Bureau also pledged to invest $5,000 to assist with the needs of the facility, while the law firm of McCurdy, Wotila, and Porteous challenged the Cadillac Men’s Hockey Program to raise funds. The law firm said it would match dollar for dollar any funds raised by the men’s hockey program up to $10,000.

Together the two raised $24,000 to go toward the Wex. The Wex also received $10,000 as part of the Kraft Hockeyville USA 2019 competition.

Koch said, however, she was uncertain if COVID-19 impacted any of these funds. 

Cadillac News