A GIANT STEP forward for the Marquette County YMCA last week as it tries to put its bankruptcy nightmare behind it.
It’s now one step closer to solvency.
A federal bankruptcy judge officially accepted the Y’s disclosure statement detailing how it got into its financial predicament, and then also received the Y’s plan to pay back its creditors.
That plan will now be sent out to the 13 creditors. If a majority of them approve the plan, then when the judge reconvenes in July, the payback plan will be accepted, and the Y will finally emerge from bankruptcy.
“Our attorneys have been working with the creditors as we’ve been putting the plan together,” says YMCA Board Chairwoman Michele Butler, “and most seem accepting of it.”
The plan calls for the Y to pay back about $1.4 million. A couple of years ago, when the financial mess was first disclosed, the Y had a debt of more than seven million dollars. Fundraising, a selling off of assets, cutbacks in the budget, and now a forgiving of some of the loan money have dramatically reduced the debt.
One more glimmer of promise for the YMCA. They recently hired Travis Alexander, one of Marquette’s most respected and popular trainers. A bundle of energy and enthusiasm. He represents a dramatic upgrade to the Y’s training and fitness programs.
THAT PROPOSED 4-5 story building to be constructed on the parking lot at Third and Main is one step closer to reality.
“We’re hoping to get the appraisal on the property finished, agree on a price, and get the job done,” says city manager Mike Angeli. He expects that to happen within two months, maybe less.
The city owns the property and would sell it to the Veridea development group, a local firm that’s undertaken several other local projects.
Their plans, right in the heart of downtown, call for a mixed use development–offices, lofts, light retail, maybe another coffee shop at street level.
Originally, it was thought that another developer might offer an alternative plan for the property. Angeli says that second plan was never presented to the city.
THE CITY PARKING lot at Picnic Rocks that was battered by waves in last October’s fierce storm has just reopened after being closed all winter.
But it’s smaller. Almost a third of it was cracked and will remain roped off to motorists.
It’ll now be up to the City Commission to decide whether to 1) simply repair the asphalt or 2) protect and fortify the parking lot with some sort of abutment before repairing it. That, of course, would be more costly.
As for North Lakeshore Boulevard–the road out to Presque Isle–that too was finally reopened recently with no apparent structural damage from the storms. But hope remains that the road can eventually be rerouted farther inland, away from the shore.
The city needs money for the job–specifically from the Army Corps of Engineers. The request for funding is in. The response from the Corps, says Angeli, may come in months…or years.
MARQUETTE MOUNTAIN IS not closing down. Not at all.
That’s the word from Frank Malette, the newly hired general manager at the mountain. He replaces Jesie Melchiori who resigned abruptly a few weeks ago.
Malette’s held a variety of jobs throughout the U.P. over the past four decades, most recently at Art Van Furniture, but he has extensive experience in food and beverage.
Now, the really good news. Season ticket passes will be going down in price next season, and daily passes may, as well. They’re currently being evaluated.
Further, the restaurant (including the Fish Fry) is going back on line this Friday, after a nearly one month hiatus, and then will continue operations Tuesday through Sunday throughout the summer.
One more thing: “We’re dressing this place up as quickly as we can,” Malette says. “We’re replacing all exterior doors immediately and we have plans for further improvements in the future.”
Weddings? Yep, there was one on Saturday. Volleyball? Yep. Starts on June 5th.
A PLAN TO put local art in the hands of every baby born at UPHS-Marquette is apparently not going to happen.
A major disappointment for Matthew Conboy, one of the artists visiting Marquette on a three month “creative residency.”
Three years ago, Conboy successfully started such a program in Pittsburgh with two hospitals and a midwifing center. To date, more than 11,000 babies and their parents have received an 8 1/2 inch by 11 inch work of art from local painters and photographers in the Pittsburgh area.
A unique way to celebrate birth and to promote local art work.
“I’m disappointed because it happened so easily in Pittsburgh, and I thought it would happen here,” Conboy says. “The Chamber of Commerce brought me here to have an impact on the community, and I thought this was the ideal way to do it.”
But apparently not. UPHS marketing director Victor Harrington says the hospital receives multiple requests for projects every week and funds many of them, but can’t afford them all. “Start with Art,” seems unlikely to get funding. Conboy says his project would cost about $1200 for a six month start up period.
Conboy says he’s made a similar overture to the Native American community in the UP–getting Native American art to Native American babies, UP-wide. The response there has been positive. He hopes to get that underway within the next several months..
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