Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Bridgeport Township DDA Board Meeting February 25th, 2015

On the agenda:
New Business -
- Mike Szuhkent from the Birch Run Bridgeport Chamber of Commerce begins at 3:00 in the video.
- Business Development.Marketing begins at 13:50
Old Business -
- Canoe Launch and walking trail discussion begins at 17:45
- Great Lakes Discovery Center begins at 28:12
- Beautification begins at 30:57
- Review of 4422 Williamson begins at 33:50
- I-75 Billboard begins at 1:13:38
- Carpenter Plaza begins at 1:15:45
DDA Member Comments begins at 1:19:16
Next Meeting will be on March 11, 2015 at Noon in the Governmental Center

First up was Mike Szuhkent from Birch Run.  I am a person that is resistant to change but they have won me over as far as the merging of the Bridgeport and Birch Run Chamber of Commerce groups.  I am very impressed with Mr. Szuhkent, with his positive attitude and energy, with his vision for the future.  I believe that the Birch Run members and Steve Dobis can make this merger work and bring some good things in the future for our two communities.  Mr. Szuhkent will be making a longer presentation at the March 11th DDA Board meeting.  I plan on being there and look forward to hearing what he says.
The future of the Great Lakes Discovery Center is finally closer to being a reality and that will be exciting.
The canoe/kayak launches are going to be a reality soon.  I don't think I am the only resident that  will be excited about that!!
The former Bridgeport Oil & Gas / B & S Heating property is now called Bridgeport Cass River Trailhead.  I think that is a great name for it and hope they keep that name.  Here is the proposed plan for the restoration and improvements for the site from December 2014.  Click on the photo to see a larger version and see the detail.

Several of the board members are concerned about the cost of this plan.  That is a very legitimate concern but I just don't quite agree with their suggestions for lowering the cost.  The largest line item on the cost projection is for the restoration of the old gas station.  The plan is to restore the facade of the building to make it look like the old Hamann station and then working on the inside to install public bathrooms.
Here are two photos of the station, first one is from 1956 and the second is from 1970.

The gas station may not be as old as the bridge but it is as much a part of Bridgeport as the bridge is.  Restoring the facade to look like the old station would be a nice touch to the proposed park area.  The station and station owners were a much loved part of Bridgeport and restoring it would be supported by many members of the community.  By not restoring it, it may cost the loss of some support from the community for the park area.
One board member mentioned the old gas station on Washington  Ave. in Saginaw near St. Mary's Hospital.  It is a very cool old building.  It was sitting boarded up and I believe it had graffiti painted on it.  To try and hide some of the blight in Saginaw, they have had some talented artists paint murals on the blighted buildings.  It looks nice, but it is still a boarded up blighted building.  Here are two photos of that gas station on Washington posted on the Pure Saginaw and Lost in Michigan Facebook pages.

In my opinion -- I would rather see the facade of the building painted to look like the old Bridgeport Oil & Gas Station than having a mural painted on it to look like a painted blighted building.  How much money would really be saved by doing the suggestion of the board members or in their other suggestion of just tearing the old station down?  Tanya Moore is the professional here and I trust her work and vision on this project. 

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