Alpena Municipal Council allocates stimulus funds to nearly a dozen projects | News, Sports, Jobs

News Photo by Steve Schulwitz Culligan Plaza in Alpena remains unused Monday, but it won’t be long before the local park is a popular spot for people to congregate. On Monday, Alpena City Council voted to use a portion of the $1,044,178 it received from the American Rescue Plan Act to renovate the plaza and make it more handicap accessible.

ALPENA – Alpena intends to invest the more than $1 million it has received under the federal government’s American Rescue Plan Act into needed infrastructure improvements.

Using the stimulus funds will help complete a variety of projects in the city’s capital improvement plan and take the burden of paying for them from the general fund.

At Monday’s Alpena municipal council meeting, the council approved 11 projects for funding that would consume the $1,044,178 the city is receiving from the federal government.

Alpena has already received $523,138 this fiscal year and expects the remainder in the next fiscal year.

From the first round of funding, the city intends to spend some of it on projects such as repairing the ramps at the skate park, remodeling the kitchen in the public safety building, and buying portable radar speed signs. It will also buy body cameras for city police officers.

Upon completion of these projects, the balance of $421,569 will be combined with the second cash allocation for larger projects in 2023 and beyond.

The city will use $612,000 to complement a $300,000 grant from the Michigan Department of Natural Resources for the new bathroom and pavilion facility at Bay View Park near the Alpena Bandshell.

It also intends to spend $200,000 to remodel Culligan Plaza and $113,609 to replace windows at City Hall.

City Manager Rachel Smolinski said the list of projects grew out of multiple meetings with employees, who prioritized what needed to be done and the associated costs to complete them. She said there is a conscious effort to allocate the money to multiple city facilities and services.

“We’ve met internally with employees several times and discussed which projects are important and we’ve tried to distribute the money,” Smolinski said. β€œIt helps us tick some things off our CIP and we probably couldn’t have done without that money. There was a lot of discussion so that we could submit the best possible projects to the council.”

The ARCA money will also help take pressure off the general fund and savings since the city won’t have to spend as much money to fund the projects.

“This money will undoubtedly be an asset and will help us achieve things that we probably wouldn’t have been able to do for a while,” Smolinski said.

In other shops

The Alpena municipal council on Monday also:

Mayor Matt Waligora proclaimed April 29 as Arbor Day in the city.

Waligora declared April Child Abuse Prevention Month.

received the first reading of Ordinance 22-473 amending the zoning plan.

approved the Marina Master Plan 2021-2025.

went into closed session to discuss the ongoing water and sewage litigation with the Municipality of Alpena.

Returning to open session, the council voted to hire a consultant for $56,000 plus expenses to conduct a rate study and review a draft contract with the municipality regarding a water board to be formed.

The contract with the consultant is subject to the Board of Trustees of the municipality of Alpena also approving the transaction.

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