Youth and Recreation prepare for 2015 funding

ALPENA – The Alpena County Youth & Recreation Committee isn’t waiting to see if the renewal request for the youth and recreation millage is approved by voters in August to begin work on possible 2015 funding allocations.

The committee is beginning the process of accepting applications for funding assistance for projects, so if the millage passes it can begin hosting presentations. Should the millage fail, the applications would be scrapped.

Committee Chairman Tony Suszek said the committee could begin the allocation process after the election, but that it would need to be done quickly and it would shorten the review process. He said by starting the process on schedule, help the committee be sure the money will be used properly, if the millage passes.

“We don’t want to stop the process because if it passes it would be much more difficult to distribute the money because of the time crunch on it,” Suszek said. “This way we can receive the applications and begin reviewing them, and then if it passes we can go right into the interview process.”

Suszek said the deadline for applications to be submitted is June 2 at 4 p.m. and applications can be obtained on the county’s website. He said in preparation of the application process there also will be a special meeting on April, 30 at 6 p.m. in the Howard Male Conference Room in the annex building to go over the application and answer questions.

“Applicants aren’t required to come, but we will be going over how the components of putting together a good proposal and go through the application paragraph by paragraph,” Suszek said. “We will basically tell you the best way to fill it out and describe what we will be looking for.”

Although the election isn’t until August and the future of the millage is in limbo, Suszek said he expects there will be a lot of applications for funding. He said the committee saw an increase in requests as the last millage wore on and doubts funding requests will decrease because of the uncertainty of the millage, which is for a half a mill for four years.

“Last year we had a large amount of requests for large amounts, and the committee believes the need is still there in the county,” Suszek said. “The money has been used to build structures, help fund activities, help Little League and soccer and keep fees for youth participation down. Without it, the costs would skyrocket.”

Suszek said the past millage had an impact on many groups, organizations and recreational facilities in every township in the county, including the city. He said Plaza Pool was able to remain open because of it and new projects, such as the trailhead in the city will become a reality because of the funds from the millage. Suszek said since it was announced that a renewal was going to be requested some members of the community have expressed their appreciation for the work the committee has done and pleased with how the money was spread around.

“Normally I would hear from people who think it was a bad millage, but I haven’t heard that,” Suszek said. “I have had members of the community tell me they hope the renewal passes and that the committee has done a good job, but really overall it has been pretty quiet about the possibility of a renewal.”

Steve Schulwitz can be reached via email at sschulwitz@thealpenanews.com or by phone at 358-5689.