Developers ready to move forward on Wenonah Park project, reside - WNEM TV 5

Developers ready to move forward on Wenonah Park project, residents voice concerns

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(Source: WNEM) (Source: WNEM)
BAY CITY, MI (WNEM) -

It's a popular spot designed to bring people in one city together, but opinions on plans to change the park are split.

Some Bay City residents are eager to see new features come to Wenonah Park.

"I think it's a good idea and it'll bring people downtown," said Kay Arnold, resident.

The planned renovation includes a year round pavilion, an update to the main entrance and added green space in front of the Friendship Ring fountain.

"It's a good feeling to see how this can actually finally happen," said Mike Bacigalupo, chief operating director for the State Theater.

He created the plan for the park. After a controversial path to approval through the city commissioners, he is glad to begin searching for architects.

The project has faced a lot of opposition from residents. Even though the city commission has approved the project, Bacigalupo said he still can't take a breath of relief.

"The park is used by residents from all over the city. Residents that have voiced concern with how the project came to be and how it will be funded going forward," said Michelle Roberts, with Citizens United for Wenonah Park.

Roberts is putting together a petition to put the proposed changes on the November ballot.

"There are many of us that don't believe the city commission adequately addressed the citizens concerns. The developers did not provide answers to many of the questions we had and the facts and data has not been presented," Roberts said.

She said some residents are concerned about the design of the pavilion, that it's too tall and will block the view of the water. She is also worried the financial plan for the project doesn't seem to add up.

Bacigalupo said it does and he is ready to move on with construction.

"It's their choice to try to do something like this. I can't stop them from doing it, but we have elected officials to do this job for us. It's different to have something going against what the elected officials made official," he said.

Roberts said she will submit the petition to local government this week for approval to eventually get the renovation on the November ballot.

In the meantime, the city is searching for architects for the project and construction is set to begin at the park this coming fall.

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