County officials host meeting to discuss proposed Kaliseum millage

Dennis Mansfield, Contributing Writer

Photo by Dennis Mansfield

Kalkaska County's Board of Commissioners had their first chance to win public support for a 20-year, 1.5-mill proposal to overhaul the aging Kaliseum Recreation Complex during a special meeting on Monday, Feb. 25.

KALKASKA – First, the Kalkaska County Board of Commissioners had to come up with a plan. And, at a special meeting Monday, Feb. 25, commissioners had their first chance to win public support for a 20-year, 1.5-mill proposal to overhaul the aging Kaliseum Recreation Complex. Commissioners recently voted, 6-1, at a special meeting Feb. 11 to approve a resolution to submit ballot language for a 20-year, 1.5-mill proposal that would help raise over $28 million to repair and upgrade the facility, as well as fund operations over the duration of the millage.

The issue will now go to voters in a May 7 special election.

But, before voters make their voices heard at the polls, commissioners hope to engage Kalkaska County residents and gain support for the proposal that would provide the necessary funds to repair, upgrade and operate the recreational facility on West Mile Road that is nearing its 20th birthday.

“We want to engage the public,” said District No. 3 Commissioner Kohn Fisher, chairman of the county board. “That’s what this is all about.”

And, in addressing those attending Monday night’s meeting at the Kaliseum, Fisher added that the discussion needed to include hearing both the good and the bad from community members and potential voters.

“We need to hear this,” he said. “We truly need to know how the people feel.

“We want to hear the negative, too. It can’t be all sunshine.”

During the forum, commissioners presented an 11-page outline of the ballot proposal and what repairs and upgrades would be funded by the 20-year levy.

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.

Monday night’s presentation included a breakdown of the cost for the various components of a potential renovation of the Kaliseum, if voters give commissioners the green light by approving the funding request.

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