July 24, 2018
SOUTH BAY AWARDED $30,000 GRANT: Biggest news to date: Alpena County Youth and Recreation Advisory Council has awarded South Bay $30,000 as “grant match” for the Alpena Bi-Path Extension! Currently the southern terminus of Alpena’s 12-mile Bi-Path is at Island Drive along US-23-S. South Bay would extend that bike path to South Partridge Point Road for now (further extensions of the Bi-Path going south to the 45th Parallel Park and beyond will be in future phases). The Alpena County Youth and Rec funding must be used by the end of 2017 although a 1-year extension is a possibility.
Our challenge now is to utilize this award to approach other governments, businesses, and foundations in the area with requests to contribute toward this fund to be used for local grant matches. Alpena Township had previously approved $5,000 some time ago for the South Bay project. Our goal is to ultimately raise $100,000! Although local, donated in-kind service work (for example excavating, engineering, landscaping, and so on) can also be counted toward local funding a large amount of cash is also necessary.
We have meetings scheduled during the week of November 14 with NEMCOG to discuss MDNR grants and with MDOT to discuss Transportation Alternatives Program (TAP) Grants! Also under consideration are USDA Rural Business Development Grants (RBDG).
45th PARALLEL PARK: South Bay will be applying for a joint permit through the Michigan DEQ and US Army Corps of Engineers for development of the 45th Parallel Park! The initial work (to complete the permit application) involves soil analysis, surveying, and some pre-engineering studies. It usually takes 6-8 months for approval which, once granted, is good for 5 years. Mark Straley of RS Scott Associates has agreed to donate his services for surveying, soil analysis, drawings, etc. Many thanks, Mark, for providing this sizable donation!
The cost of the permit application, approximately $2,000, is being paid from our public fundraiser earlier this year. Many thanks to the people who donated for this initial work on the way to making the 45th Parallel Park a reality!
ALVAR PARK ROAD UNDER CONSTRUCTION: The road into the proposed Alvar Park on state-owned land off Partridge Point Road has been greatly improved thanks to a joint effort between the DNR Forestry Division and South Bay! Permits were obtained from the DEQ and US Army Corp to install culverts in the driveway to the parking lot and to add gravel and grading to enable passenger vehicles to view and use this beautiful area of Squaw Bay! A DNR crew installed two culverts and spread the gravel utilizing their equipment to upgrade so-called “Frog Lane” from Partridge Point Road to the Alvar Park parking area.
This project was done with sizable donations from area businesses: Everett Goodrich Trucking hauled gravel, Specification Stone provided three gravel trains, and Steve Plowman funded the culverts. Don Duvall has also done work on the project. Many thanks to Bruce Goodrich, Mark Rose of Specification Stone, Steve Plowman, and Don Duvall for their contributions and efforts! Also, none of this would have been possible without Cody Stevens, from the DNR Forestry Division in Atlanta, who applied for the permits and got everything going from the state. Thank you, Cody, and the DNR!
Additionally, a group of residents from the Bear Point Subdivision were on hand afterwards with chain saws and determination to cut the brush on the side of the driveway so vehicles would not be scratched on their way to and from the parking area.
We will have a dedication ceremony in the spring to launch the park and its availability for summer activities such as bicycling, walking, birding, kayaking, fishing, and so on. The public is welcome to use the park now, however, but be advised that there are no amenities such as picnic tables, restrooms, and the like. ALSO, please bring all trash out with you!
Another benefit of the Alvar Park is to provide a destination, once completed in the future, for bikers and walkers as they utilize the new Bi-Path Extension! As the Bi-Path Extension will proceed southward to South Partridge Point, users can walk or bike the loop of North and South Partridge Point!!
4. DRONE VIDEO: Gary Hollingsworth of Alpena Community College screened a brief drone-captured video of the Alvar and 45th Parallel Park sites and surrounding waterway provided without charge to the South Bay Steering Committee. Recently a drone video was also shot of the area for the Alpena Bi-Path Extension and Partridge Point.
Once a script and voice over with music are added they will be used for fundraisers (including crowdfunding platforms such as Patronicity), marketing, and other support for South Bay projects- starting with the Alpena Bi-Path Extension. Hollingsworth got two rounds of applause for remarkably well-done video!! Stay tuned Alpena!! A big thank you to Gary and Don McMaster for providing this service.
5. US-23 SOUTH DRIVEWAY CLOSURES: Asked to canvass area businesses who might volunteer for driveway closures when MDOT resurfaces a portion of US-23 in 2017, South Bay did the job well. Businesses agreed to close the following: two driveways at Continental Rental immediately south of the traffic light at US-23 & the entrance to Neiman’s Market, one on the opposite side of US-23 at the middle of the ThunderBowl Lanes parking lot (already blocked off by the property owner), a driveway at the Alpena Mall to the south of the China Gardens, the southernmost entrance to Ferrell Gas, and the center driveway to the Al Lutes Building. Driveways will be closed courtesy of MDOT to include driveway removal, curb installation, topsoil, and seeding with no cost to the property owners!
This consolidation of driveways, called Access Management by MDOT, is be performed in conjunction with US 23 South Resurfacing Project from Island Drive to Thunder Bay Ave. next summer. Participation in driveway closures results in improved roadway safety with fewer access points, as well as owner benefits of additional parking and space for snow removal.
6. SOUTH BAY 5K FOR JA: The first South Bay event is now in the history books with the “South Bay 5K for JA” event on Lake Huron Discovery Tour weekend! Many thanks to Brian Winter and the sponsors who made the vision a reality!!
7. SUMMER CLEAN UP PROJECTS: Also happening in the summer are numerous clean up and beautification projects! This year, beginning with the annual highway clean up, were the flower pots placed on the east side of the roadway courtesy (again) of the Plowman’s! Many thanks to Bonnie, John, and Steve who not only contribute time and money for the flower pots but to other projects as well.
Volunteers from the Bear Point Subdivision also cut and sprayed weeds, painted poles, and painted fire hydrants. All fire hydrants from Thunder Bay Ave. to Squaw Bay are now painted (including those that were hiding in the weeds), with the last several being painted by Ken Tenniswood. Thanks, Ken, and all of the volunteers!
As you can see, much is happening with the South Bay effort to reinvigorate US 23 South in Alpena Township. Please advise if you would like additional information or would like to donate funds or your expertise!
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