Voters to decide fate of Kaliseum funding proposal in May 7 election

Dennis Mansfield, Contributing Writer

KALKASKA – The plan has been laid out, scrutinized and debated. There have been workshops and special meetings, as well as public forums.

The only item left on the “to do” list related to a 20-year, 1.5-mill ballot issue is to have Kalkaska County voters decide the fate of the proposal that would provide more than $28 million to upgrade, renovate, maintain and operate the Kaliseum Recreation Complex in a special election Tuesday, May 7.

The special election could be the final chapter of a saga that started last fall, when the Kalkaska County Board of Commissioners voted to close the pool area at the county-owned facility in mid-September 2018 after a fastener fell from the ceiling.

Commissioners had already been discussing financing options to fund upgrades to the Kaliseum’s mechanical functions, as well as to make the facility more energy efficient. But, after the closure of the pool area, which has remained closed, officials did a more thorough review of the nearly two decade old building and what was needed to keep it functioning for another 20 years.

That led to the development of the 1.5-mill ballot proposal which would fund renovations and mechanical upgrades, as well as the operation of the facility over the lifetime of the levy, if it is approved by voters.

District No. 3 Commissioner Kohn Fisher, chairman of the county board, said the millage proposal should correct some of the poor planning that has haunted the facility, built in 1999, by ensuring there is funding to keep the Kaliseum properly maintained, as well as to also fund its operation.

“This is different than before,” Fisher said. “This is your answer to run the facility with an active budget. And, you’ll be able to fix things when it’s needed, not waiting to see if you have the money.

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