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Question: Do you support the continued pursuit of a Charlevoix city marina expansion in Round Lake, should state and federal regulators sign off on any version of such a project, and why?
Answer: I am in favor of finding ways to keep our downtown vibrant and filled with people enjoying life in Charlevoix. Expanding the marina could help further this goal, although projects that promote year round enjoyment of the downtown are better. There are also many concerns to consider before deciding to expand the marina.
First, safety is a top priority for Round Lake navigation. A few local maritime businesses, including Beaver Island Boat Company, have expressed concerns about the marina expansion. As a community, I think we should place a high value on our strong relationship with Beaver Island and the Beaver Island Boat Company. If the regulators sign off on safety, it will be interesting to see how Beaver Island Boat Company responds.
Second, many people, including myself, are concerned about obstructing the view that we all enjoy from East Park.
Finally, the dock expansion should not require any city subsidies. If use of the new docks will generate positive net income, the extra money could support other community minded projects, like the Charlevoix Municipal Golf Course and/or Mt. McSauba. If the city will need to subsidize the docks then we should not build them. Considering the ideas discussed above, and other ideas that people express, we should continue the conversation regarding the marina expansion. In fact, all suggestions intended to help promote a positive downtown experience for everyone should be respectfully considered – especially other suggestions that will promote year round enjoyment of the downtown for locals and visitors alike.
Question: Do you support the continued pursuit of a potential land exchange between St. Mary’s Cement and Fisherman’s Island State Park, a recreational facility outside city limits, yet with a direct impact on the entire community’s economy and quality of life, and why?
Answer: Specifically, I do not support the continued pursuit of a land exchange. I am serving on the land swap committee because I care a great deal about Fisherman’s Island State Park – especially the proximity of the North entrance to the city. I grew up in Charlevoix and I enjoyed spending time riding my bike and camping at the park. I have spent over 40 hours of my personal time, outside of the committee meetings, researching how this land swap might impact the surrounding community. I have walked the boundaries of the potential land swap. I have studied the potential costs and cost savings to the community and Saint Mary’s, and I have learned a great deal about how this process will interface with the State of Michigan. I have also learned about the environmental considerations that would be both positive and negative if the swap were to occur. At this point, Saint Mary’s has not made any proposal that I would support.
I understand from several people that Saint Mary’s is a more community minded business to work with than previous cement plant owners. Additionally, Saint Mary’s is a large employer in the community, providing good year round jobs. Considering all these factors, even though I don’t support the “pursuit” of a land exchange, I think we should respectfully and thoughtfully consider any proposal before we react to it. I promise to do that for all issues at City Council meetings.
Question: How best do you feel Charlevoix city officials should approach the continued operations of both the municipal golf course and Mount McSauba recreational area, in order to reduce costs for taxpayers and yet maintain these valuable public resources?
Answer: I grew up spending time on the golf course and skiing at Mount McSauba. I truly love the fact that these activities are provided by the community and not by a private enterprise. As a citizen, I support the use of some of my tax dollars going toward the funding of the ski hill and the golf course. That being said, I want to make the Mt. McSauba recreational area and the municipal golf course self-sustaining, if possible.
The approach the city officials should take is to first try some of the ideas that were suggested at the city council meetings over the last few months. One idea I particularly liked was to generate a volunteer base that would assist the city in reducing the labor costs in connection with the two facilities. If a base of community volunteers were involved in the operation then it would build on the idea that these facilities are owned and operated by the community for the community.
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