Wenonah Park pavilion plan accepted despite opposition - WNEM TV 5

Wenonah Park pavilion plan accepted despite opposition

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A community at odds with itself over an outdoor pavilion will now have to accept the million dollar project. 

The debate brought hundreds to a meeting in Bay City. While the original meeting was supposed to happen at City Hall, the demand for space forced them to move to the Double Tree ballroom. The Bay City Planning Commission voted Monday night to accept the plan. 

"Anything that keeps the kids off the street, out of trouble, off of heroin, off of drugs is progressive and a good thing,” said Justin Pomerville, who was in favor of the park.

"You're being entertained with a presentation that is fantasy, it's conceptual. It is bad for Wenonah Park, it is bad for the city,” said a resident against the park.

Wenonah Park sits on the shores of the Saginaw River, marked by the iconic friendship ring.

However, talks of new development at the park has created anything but a friendly atmosphere for those lined up on both sides of the issue.

"We believe wholeheartedly that this plan is a sell-out,” said one resident at the meeting.

"I think this project would be an absolutely wonderful addition to our city,” Tom Carter said.

The plan calls for using $1 million in funds donated by the Nickless Foundation and another $1.7 million from the Downtown Development Authority and other private funds to build a multi-use pavilion in the park.

Those in favor of a pavilion say it would draw people downtown with entertainment and, in the winter, an ice skating rink.

Those against it argue it would be bad for downtown.

"A development of that density will have negative effects on property values, road traffic, noise control, decreased visibility of the Saginaw River, and lastly the general beauty of Wenonah Park,” Rene Holcomb said.

Along with a pavilion, the current proposal has a 2,500-square foot building for concessions and a warming house for visitors.

There are plans of also creating revenue to pay for the park's expenses by selling concessions and renting out ice skates.

"Every time I go to a city I say why can't we have that in our city? I think it would be a real draw to people downtown,” Faith Smith said. 

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