Village awards bids for RR Square development; await word on state funding

Dennis Mansfield, Contributing Writer

KALKASKA – With a pair of votes at its regular meeting Monday, Nov. 4, the Kalkaska Village Council helped the village and its Downtown Development Authority take yet another step forward in the redevelopment of the 300 Block of Cedar Street.

By unanimous 7-0 votes, council members approved a winning bid of more than $2.5 million submitted by Grand Traverse Construction of Traverse City for the improvement project to the former site of the Erb Lumber Co. and chamber of commerce office, renamed by local officials as Railroad Square, in downtown Kalkaska.

Cadillac-based C.J. Excavating was awarded the second part of the renovation project after submitting a bid of nearly $587,000 to crush and rebuild two blocks of Maple Street, including parking improvements.

Scott Yost, Kalkaska village manager, said the second part of the project will provide for a new, attractive roadway running along one side of Railroad Square, as well as fix an ongoing problem with stormwater.

“That’s been problematic,” Yost said. “And, it’s a high-traffic street, as well.”

Larry Fox, project engineer for C2AE of Gaylord, said both bids came in under projected cost estimates, allowing for a “healthy contingency” fund.

However, DDA officials also provided a cautionary note. Gayenell Gentelia, DDA associate director, said that awarding the bids was not the final step before breaking ground on the project. Instead, the village and DDA will submit notification of the bids to the Michigan Strategic Fund in hopes of receiving a grant through the Michigan Economic Development Commission.

“It’s contingent upon receiving the grant,” Gentelia said. “(And) we don’t have the grant yet.”

According to Gentelia, minutes from Monday night’s meeting would be forwarded to the MSF to note the bids had been awarded. That just ahead of a slated meeting by the state entity set for Thursday, Nov. 7.

“That’s when they’ll look at the entire project,” she added. “If we do (receive the grant), we’ll break ground in the spring.”

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