TAWAS CITY – Among other business during their July 1 meeting, Tawas City Council members learned of a possible senior housing development in the community.

City Manager Annge Horning shared with officials a letter from Lisa Bolen, Executive Director/CEO of Northeast Michigan Community Service Agency (NEMCSA).

“We know that quality, affordable housing is in short supply in many of our communities,” she stated.

“As you may have already heard, NEMCSA is in the initial stages of fact finding and exploration of options for senior housing development,” Bolen continued. “Your municipality is on the short list of target areas for this to happen.”

While in the very early stages of planning, she advised that this development may be modeled after the Clare Castle project – a 24-unit, two-bedroom complex for seniors, located in downtown Clare.

“NEMCSA pursues this project with the intent of possibly combining a Head Start center, offices, etc. in the ground floor of the building,” Bolen stated.

“We know that some areas, similar to the Clare project, might be interested in the incorporation of Senior Center space,” she went on.

“So they’re looking for property in the Tawas area. The East Tawas Council is getting this same letter,” Horning told officials.

She said that if council members have any ideas regarding properties which can be utilized for this effort, they can either let her know or they can reach out directly to Bolen.

One suggestion Horning made was the former Tawas Area Middle School, but she said Bolen wasn’t sure about this property, since it may take a lot of renovations to meet the needs of NEMCSA.

Horning noted that NEMCSA will also be looking for some tax incentives with the potential project, such as payment in lieu of taxes, so this is another factor to keep in mind.

She added that, while commercial space isn’t a necessity, it would be ideal for those from the agency to also have this incorporated into the structure.

In separate business, Horning said a letter was received from the Iosco County Historical Society, asking the city to renew its membership with the organization.

“To my knowledge, we have never been a member, at least in recent history. In July 2015, however, the Council did approve a one-time only contribution to the Iosco County Museum Endowment Fund,” Horning stated.

“At that time we received an opinion from our auditors that State law allows the City to appropriate money to foster any activity or project which will advance the historical interest of the City. Since the endowment fund was created to sustain the operations of the county historical museum which has some Tawas City history displays, the donation was acceptable,” she continued.

“A membership with them would serve the same purpose and would be acceptable by State law,” Horning stated, adding that because this is something the city hasn’t done in the past, she would like a council decision on whether they feel the city should hold a membership with the museum.

Mayor Ken Cook remarked that the historical society is important for such reasons as preserving the history of Tawas City itself, and he would like to see the council support the organization.

Officials voted 6-0 to sign up for the benefactor membership for 2019-2020, at a cost of $100. Councilman Jon Studley was not in attendance.