New director seeks input for future direction of Kaliseum

Dennis Mansfield, Contributing Writer

KALKASKA – Deliberation over the future of the Kaliseum Recreation Complex in Kalkaska took a new and different step forward on Monday, Oct. 9.

Monday was the first time the Kaliseum Steering Committee, established by the Kalkaska County Board of Commissioners, was slated to meet and discuss how they might tackle the issue of prioritizing and funding needed upgrades and renovations at the county-owned facility on West Mile Road.

“I hear it was a productive and fruitful meeting,” said District No. 3 Commission Kohn Fisher, chairman of the county board. “I was really glad to hear that.

“There are some very talented individuals on the committee,” he added. “Kalkaska County is very fortunate to have these people step forward to be on this committee.”

The steering committee was formed after voters defeated a 20-year, 1.5-mill funding proposal in May. The proposal would have provided more than $28 million over two decades for both the maintenance and operation of the Kaliseum.

According to Fisher, the committee has been tasked with making recommendations to the county board regarding the facility’s future, including another potential millage proposal that could go before voters at some point in 2020.

But, Fisher added that the committee has not been given any timeline or deadline by which they must report their findings and recommendations to commissioners.

“I didn’t want to set them up for failure,” he said. “I was trying to be cautious.

“We have this committee. Let them work on it. That’s why we have it.”

However, even before the steering committee met on Monday, Kaliseum director John Starr has been trying to garner public input by promoting some of his own ideas on what could be done at the Kaliseum, including turning the now closed pool area into a multi-use area for activities such as basketball and volleyball.

“It’s just an option,” said Starr, who took over as the facility’s director in July. “We’re trying to get some feedback.

“It’s been a year. We can’t keep going on with it like that.”

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