Adopt-a-Park will pick up again once spring appears

ALPENA – City Engineer Rich Sullenger gave an update to Alpena Municipal Council on the Adopt-a- Park Program that allows volunteers help make improvements to the parks within the city.

The plan, which was put in place in the second half of 2012, has had moderate reception from residents and organization in the city, but Sullenger said he believes that is because it was implemented just before the weather began to turn cold. He said two parks have been adopted. Michigan Arts & Culture Northeast Artown has adopted the Chisholm Street pocket park next to the Owl Cafe and Marilyn K. Ross and Family are on board to care for the Duck Park sign and the flower garden around it.

John Gilmet and Family adopted the Washington Avenue Riverfront Park between 11th Avenue and the cemetery. Gilmet did a bunch of work this past summer clearing brush and dead trees to make it easier to see the Thunder Bay River. Lafarge donated $3,000 to the city to have Gilmet do the same to the Johnson Street shoreline of the river. Mayor Matt Waligora said the parks are important not only for residents but to visitors as well.

“Nobody wants to live, play, tour, spend money somewhere that’s not attractive,” Waligora said. “It is fantastic these groups have come forward. People have helped take care of the parks for years and have never been recognized for it. This program will help give them the credit they deserve. We will be going all out this spring to get more people involved.”

Councilman Shawn Sexton said the parks in the city are as good as any and the program can only help to assure they remain such.

“I think the park system is a source of pride for people and I think that shows by the volunteer efforts,” Sexton said. “I’ll stack our park system up against anybody. I think it is important we do everything we can to maintain that.”

In other business:

  • the council voted to keep the pay for election inspectors at $129, the same in 2013 as it was in 2012.
  • the council voted to accept the recommendation of the planning commission to amend the the city’s zoning ordinance. The amendment will allow for some way finding signs and other directional signs to be placed in the right-of-way of a road.

Steve Schulwitz can be reached via e-mail at or by phone at 358-5689.