Youth and Recreation application deadline looms | News, Sports, Jobs

News Photo by Steve Schulwitz Michael Gumtow, left, follows through on his jump

News Photo by Steve Schulwitz
Michael Gumtow, left, follows through on his jump shot while playing basketball with his friends Robert Schlegel, center, and Noah Marquardt at McRae Park in Alpena on Friday. The Alpena County Youth and Recreation millage has improved the conditions of sports fields and courts all over the county, but its final allocation is coming later this year.

ALPENA — Groups and organizations wanting to apply for money from the Alpena County Youth and Recreation fund have a few weeks to do so.

Youth and Recreation Committee Chairman Tony Suszek said the deadline to submit an application to vie for a portion of the $460,000 is due May 3, at 4 p.m.

Since voters gave their approval to the Youth and Recreation tax in 2010, great strides were made in updating recreational infrastructure, and keeping pay-to-play fees low.

The half-mill millage was renewed two more times, but the final allocation for it is coming at the end of summer.

Suszek said he anticipates a lot of interest in funding, and if history repeats itself, most interested parties will promote worthy projects. He said the committee intends to distribute the money as evenly as possible across the board, but Suszek suspects the total amount of money requested will exceed what’s available.

“There still seems to be a high demand out there, and it looks like it will be highly competitive for the funding,” Suszek said. “We may fund more projects this year partially, so more groups may receive money, but then, of course, there will be some who don’t get any funding.”

In order to assist those who intend to apply, Suszek said a meeting at the APlex is slated for April 14, at 6 p.m. where people can ask the committee questions about the millage, the funding process, and receive tips on how to properly pitch their projects.

“It gives them an opportunity to learn how to improve their applications, so when they submit it, it has a better chance of being approved,” he said.

Once the applications are received, they are reviewed and scored by the committee. Once that is done, the Alpena County Board of Commissioners must vote to approve the allocation recommendation from the committee.

After that, Suszek said, the committee and county could begin the process of determining if another tax renewal is needed, or if a new one is necessary.

“We’ll put together a timetable and have discussions on if we need a renewal, an increase, a decrease, or not have anything at all,” he said. “Each time it is on the ballot, it has received more yes votes, and from my standpoint it has been great for the whole county and done a lot of fantastic things. I am proud to be on the committee and help to get the best projects done.”

Applications for funding are available on the Alpena County website — alpenacounty.org — and can be submitted there too.

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