Funding of Kaliseum repairs, maintenance could result in millage proposal

Dennis Mansfield, Contributing Writer

KALKASKA – A failed fastener falling to the floor of the pool area below in early September might result in more than the closure of the facility, as the Kalkaska County Board of Commissioners continue to search for answers on how to fund repairs nearly three months later.

Commissioners closed the pool area after 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 have been working to find financial options to fund up to $4.2 million in improvements and upgrades to the Kaliseum which is nearing its 20th birthday. That would include replacement, improvements and upgrades to the building’s mechanical equipment, such as heating and cooling functions.

The debate over whether the two issues should remain separate or be combined, or whether the county board should look long term, as far as the future maintenance of the building, took maybe yet another new twist at a special meeting Wednesday, Nov. 28.

While discussing options with financial advisors, commissioners asked about the potential to go to the voters for one, or maybe two, funding requests to pay for repairs in the short term and for continued maintenance in the future – or both at the same time.

Outgoing District No. 2 Commissioner Stuart McKinnon said “the worst-case scenario” for the Kaliseum, for both repairs and to keep the public facility properly maintained over the next two decades is potentially as much as $17 million.

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