BOC to use survey to craft potential ballot language for Kaliseum repairs

By: 
Dennis Mansfield, Contributing Writer

Photo by Lauren Clark

Kalkaska County Board of Commissioners Chair Stuart McKinnon (middle) addresses a question from the public during Tuesday’s special meeting regarding future plans to fund needed repairs at the county’s Kaliseum Recreation Complex.

 

KALKASKA – Before making any type of final decision on the fate of the Kaliseum Recreation Complex, the Kalkaska County Board of Commissioners want to hear from the voters who put them in office.

Commissioners have debated for months what to do and about how best to fund much-needed repairs and mechanical upgrades at the county-owned facility on West Mile Road in Kalkaska. Those discussions were occurring even before county officials voted to close the Kaliseum’s pool, after a fastener fell from the roof, again highlighting the need for action.

But, before deciding the scope and cost of any potential project, the county board voted at a four-hour special meeting Tuesday, Dec. 18, to contract with a downstate marketing firm to conduct both an online and phone survey to help shape a possible funding request that could be before voters as early as May 2019.

A county-wide vote might finally provide a solution to maintenance issues at the Kaliseum some eight months after the commissioners closed the pool area when a 5/8th-inch bolt, broke loose from the ceiling and fell to the floor below on Sept. 12. According to officials, the part was large and heavy enough to have caused serious injury, if it had hit anyone.

The closure came at somewhat of an inopportune time, as commissioners had already started work on finding financial options to fund up to $4.2 million in improvements and upgrades to the Kaliseum, which is nearing its 20th birthday.

Those were to include replacement, improvements and upgrades to the building’s mechanical equipment, such as heating and cooling functions.

Without funding for the repairs and upgrades, outgoing District No. 2 Commissioner Stuart McKinnon, chairman of the county board, said the future of the Kaliseum is in doubt.

“The Kaliseum is past the point of being critical,” McKinnon said. “If we have one boiler or one chiller go down, the building is done.

“This is kind of a do or die.”

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