If approved, millage on November 6 ballot would help renovate Hanson Hills lodge
Caleb Casey | Managing Editor
One of the local proposals on the upcoming November 6 Election Day ballot will, if passed, help Grayling Recreation Authority renovate the main lodge at Hanson Hills Recreation Area.
The lodge serves as an office for GRA and as a base for winter operations at Hanson Hills. It has a dining area, snack bar, and ski rental shop. The wooden siding on the exterior of the building is deteriorating in places, and GRA officials would also like to replace the windows, doors, and roof.
“Siding, windows, doors, and the roof are our main areas of concern,” said Justin Andre, Director of Operations for GRA.
Andre said GRA also hopes to replace the sidewalk in front of the building and create a ramp for wheelchair access.
“We want to work on replacing the sidewalks. The sidewalks are pitted,” Andre said. “We’re looking at hopefully getting an ADA compliant ramp so we have accessibility for the handicapped.”
The lodge is old. The roof and the siding and the sidewalks have undergone “years and years of deterioration,” Andre said.
GRA hasn’t decided what materials to use for the new roof and the new siding if the millage were to pass. The process would involve gathering multiple bids.
“We want something that looks nice, is easy to maintain, and will last a long time,” Andre said.
For the windows, GRA is looking for something better that will keep the heat inside and reducing heating costs.
“Shore this up, insulate it, get good windows so we don’t lose heat,” Andre said.
Andre said GRA has done its best to keep the lodge functioning, but the building needs work, more than GRA can pay for with its budget. GRA, a government consortium, runs Hanson Hills using money from an operating millage and money generated from its winter activities like skiing and tubing.
“The lodge has just been pieced together over the years,” Andre said. “We need help. We’ve done a lot with the money we’ve had over the years. Taking on a project this big is not something our budget can sustain.”
The proposal on the November 6 ballot is a one-year millage for GRA.
“One-year millage, 0.5 mills, 50 per thousand dollars of taxable value is what we receive, for most people between $25 and $75 one-time tax on their property,” Andre said. “One and done, just to get this lodge shored up. It’s just one big huge project we haven’t had the funds to tackle.”
“A lot of history here, a lot of generations of the Grayling community that have grown up here. We’re not trying to create something new, just trying to keep what we have, provide our services to the community,” Andre said. “We’re just trying to preserve it.”
In addition to its downhill skiing, cross country skiing, and tubing activities during the winter, Hanson Hills also offers two disc golf courses, trails for mountain biking and hiking, a softball field, a fishing pond for kids, and a new pavilion for outdoor events.
“We don’t want to be a strain on our community,” Andre said. “We want to embrace the history that has gone on here over the years.”
Andre said if the proposed millage passes, it would generate close to $300,000 and that the renovation project would take place during the spring and summer of 2019.