BOC establishes Kaliseum ‘steering committee’ to provide oversight

Dennis Mansfield, Contributing Writer

KALKASKA – While the fate of a 20-year funding proposal for the Kaliseum Recreation Complex remains unknown, the Kalkaska County Board of Commissioners already are looking at the long term in creating a “steering committee” to help oversee the county-owned facility.

A short-handed board unanimously voted, 4-0, to establish the Kaliseum Steering Committee at a special meeting Monday, April 22. Three commissioners – David Comia, John West and Leigh Ngirarsaol – were absent.

However, that didn’t stop the remaining quartet from voting at the meeting held a little over two weeks before a special election – set for Tuesday, May 7 – with the fate of a 20-year, 1.5-mill funding proposal hanging in the balance.

Despite Monday night’s vote, District No. 3 Commissioner Kohn Fisher, chairman of the county board, said there’s still plenty to do in making the committee a working body.

“We made it official,” Fisher said. “But, I want to see some bylaws, some rules. Then, we’ll start picking people to serve on the committee.”

Commissioners have already created a Kaliseum Construction Committee to help with the formation of plans to upgrade and renovate the nearly two-decade old facility on West Mile Road in Kalkaska.

But, Fisher said the two are not a duplication, with the construction committee only playing a minor role in the planning of the funding request, so far.

“They’re just not needed at this time,” Fisher said of the construction committee, which has met only once since its creation. “We might call on them, if we need the expertise.

“The board of commissioners will be the one holding the project reigns. There’s just too much to do.”

If approved by voters, the proposed 20-year levy would help raise more than $28 million over its lifespan to repair and upgrade the Kaliseum, as well as fund operations over the duration of the millage.

Plans call for the replacement of all existing “mechanicals” at the Kaliseum, which opened in 1999, including a low-temp ice chiller, air-handling units for the ice arena and pool area, hot water boiler system and a high efficiency space cooling chiller.

Other improvements would be to install systems, including air conditioning, to make the second floor of the Kaliseum useable year-round. And, a new ice melt system would also be installed at the front entrance.

Another key to the proposal would be the installation of a building automation control network system to maximize efficiency throughout the facility in order to provide for increased energy savings.

Interior finishes to be funded by the proposal would include the demolition of drywall and metal studs on the second floor’s south wing to provide for a contiguous open space, addition of two restrooms on the second floor, as well as various renovations to all other restrooms, paint and patchwork throughout the facility, removal of the drop-ceiling grid in the lobby and refresh the pool space with new paint and tile.

While the ballot proposal could provide long-term funding, Fisher said the role of the new steering committee will be work with the facility’s director and serve as a liaison to the county board. Other duties will be to provide 30-day reviews with the director, establish goals and priorities, as well as work on potential new programs.

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