Lack of funding halts Wenonah Park project - WNEM TV 5

Lack of funding halts Wenonah Park project

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(Source: WNEM) (Source: WNEM)

It has been a long, tense battle over the future of a park as a proposed plan to modify it has set off a major debate in one Mid-Michigan city.

Now, severe weather hundreds of miles away may have driven up the price of the project, putting it in jeopardy.

"With the hurricanes and all the storms they've had, we found that the price of steel concrete and lumber have skyrocketed," said Mike Bacigalupo, with the Bay City Downtown Development Authority.

That puts new issues on the table for the proposed Wenonah Park improvement plan.

Bacigalupo said the plan includes a new pavilion, a building with an indoor concession stand, new restrooms and band shell renovations. But it comes with a big and unexpected price tag.

"With the contingency plan is about $3 million," Bacigalupo said.

City commissioners signed off on the plan back in March.

Since then, major hurricanes have led to heavy demand on building materials, pushing up prices. Which leaves the Bay City DDA coming up short on cash.

"Right now we have about $2.4 million," Bacigalupo said.

That leaves them about $600,000 short, which is a relief for Alexander DeWitt.

DeWitt is a member of the Citizens Against the Pavilion Project Group.

"This is something our group and many people that aren't super involved were concerned about from the start. That money wouldn't come through when needed," DeWitt said.

DeWitt said if the DDA had the money it would make people's fears go away.

Part of the funding, $1 million, is coming from the Nickless Family Charitable Foundation.

Bacigalupo said supporters are asking the foundation for more. He said without that full funding the project will not move forward.

If the funding goes through, the construction would start as soon as possible and take about eight months to complete.

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