County Commissioners Want to Keep the Kaliseum — But at the Right Price

Pkg00 00 35 18still003The future of the Kaliseum was the topic once again at Thursday’s Kalkaska County Commission meeting.

There was a lot of back and forth from commissioners during the meeting. They ultimately decided they want to keep the Kaliseum open, but at the right price. Commissioner Robert Baldwin called on his fellow commissioners to make a decision at Thursday evening’s meeting.

“I support the Kaliseum, but I don’t support it on the back of the tax payers. The Kaliseum has got to pull it’s own weight and if we don’t see a way of the Kaliseum pulling its own weight, then we’ve got to pull the plug,” Baldwin admits.

The Kaliseum pulls in around $88,000 a year, and it costs the county around $130,000 to keep it open.

“The tax payers have beat in our heads, they’ve told us a million times: We’re going to pay to keep the lights on, but we’re not going to pay for the grand plan,” Commissioner, Katina Banko, states.Pkg00 00 05 10still001

Kalkaska Memorial Health Center has shown interest in renovating the fitness center. The county could continue to run the Kaliseum along with the hospital, or give the hospital complete control.

“I think tax payers want to see someone else run it. I think they want to see a liable business plan. I think they want a multigenerational health and wellness center for our community,” Banko says.

While commissioners didn’t make any decisions Thursday night, they did commit to trying to keep the Kaliseum up and running.

Pkg00 00 15 09still002“I think we have three or four great things in Kalkaska. We’ve got the hospital, we’ve got good education system, we’ve got the sheriff’s department, and we’ve got the Kaliseum,” Commissioner, Truman Bicum, says.

Commissioners are still waiting to review an architect agreement. If approved, commissioners can then accept bids to figure out the cost of the renovations. Commissioner, Kohn Fisher, says they won’t accept a bid over $2million.

“Once we get passed this phase 1 then we would have those discussions with this phase 2 opportunity which would be an expansion of the facility including new uses and a pool,” Fisher explains.

They’ll review the architect agreement by mid-July, but say it may take three months before they accept any bids.