OSCODA – A $280,000 offer to purchase the Oscoda Community Center (OCC) was countered, among other action, during the June 10 board of trustees meeting.
Donald Nolan of Kalitta Air Charters LLC made the offer on May 22, with the condition that the seller repair/replace the shingles on the roof which have blown off of the structure.
Trustees recently voted unanimously to put the OCC up for sale with Real Estate One Northeast-Oscoda, at a cost of $295,000.
Located in the Wurtsmith Industrial zoning district, at 4071 E. Arrow St., the center spans nearly 33,000 square feet and is situated on 3.2 acres of land.
“I move that we accept the purchase agreement, with the repair request,” said Trustee Timothy Cummings, in a motion which was supported by William Palmer.
“I would be of the opinion that we counter, at the original list price,” said Clerk John Nordeen.
Following his suggestion, the motion by Cummings failed, as Nordeen, Treasurer Jaimie McGuire, Supervisor Aaron Weed and Trustees Martin Gayeski and Jim Baier all voted no.
“Is there another motion for further discussion?” Weed asked.
Nordeen moved to counter the offer at the original list price, while agreeing to make the roof repairs, which was passed unanimously by the board.
(It should be noted that, at press time, the board scheduled a special meeting on the afternoon of June 17. On the agenda was authorization for the township clerk and supervisor to execute the OCC purchase agreement. Information on what they decided will be printed in a future edition of this publication).
In related matters, trustees considered a request from those at Oscoda Area Schools (OAS), after representatives were invited to walk through the OCC and identify potential resources which could be used at the district.
In a letter from OAS Superintendent Scott Moore, he listed several items which could be utilized at OAS, including basketballs, mats, a ping pong table, a pool table, weight/exercise equipment, basketball hoops and volleyball nets.
“Each of these tools would be valuable to our efforts to promote healthy and vibrant members of our community,” Moore stated. “We have exercise facilities for students and staff and these contributions would be tremendous enhancements.”
Township Superintendent Dave Schaeffer said the request from OAS was contingent on the purchase agreement for the OCC.
He added that the list of items has been provided to Real Estate One, to communicate to the potential buyer about the equipment/inventory.
A motion was made to approve the request, contingent upon the sale of the building, which passed 7-0.
As previously reported, Schaeffer explained during a board meeting last month that trustees have discussed the future of the OCC at regular meetings, as well as during budget work sessions.
Other than the concept of a millage dedicated to fund the operations and ongoing building maintenance, the OCC Advisory Committee was not able to produce a plan which would increase annual operating revenues enough to offset the yearly operating expenditures, he stated.
Schaeffer was referencing the committee which was re-formed in the fall of 2016 to research topics related to the OCC, and was dissolved a couple years later upon completion of said task.
One of the group’s main objectives was to provide input regarding formulation of a millage proposal to operate the center on a year-round basis. The committee investigated a number of different options to better sustain the OCC, including ideas for new activities and programs; promotion and marketing plans; talks on having full-time management at the center; evaluation of cost-cutting and revenue enhancement measures; and more.
One such notion was approved by trustees when they agreed to shorten the hours of business at OCC, during times when there is limited patronage, and then use the savings to extend hours in the fall and/or spring.
The OCC is open on a seasonal basis, closing in the summer months, and several residents have advocated over the years for the facility to be open year-round.
However, a recurring concern expressed by township officials has been the financial side of the issue, such as the center operating in the red each year and the fact that subsidies from other funds to the OCC fund continue to climb.
Board members have noted, though, that the township can now look at options for providing a facility which better fits the needs of those in the area and the population of Oscoda.
Some ideas that have been discussed in the past, which were raised again during the latest meeting, include combining such a center with township offices, a meeting room and/or a library.
Weed said that the public has to discern the difference between the ideology of a community center and the reality of a community center.
“The ideology of it is that it’s great to have a community center, it serves the public, people can come there and they can do things. The reality of it is, it’s hundreds of thousands of dollars over the span of years that will be put into a facility that really only serves less than 200 people,” he has expressed.
“That’s not representative of our community of 7,000 people,” he continued, adding that the OCC would be more suited to an area with 40,000 residents.
Many people have put effort into making the center viable, but history has shown time and time again that it’s not working, Weed contends.
In other property matters during their June 10 meeting, the board voted 7-0 to drop the listing price of Aune Medical Center from $1.4 million to $899,000.
McGuire said she had no problem reducing the price, as there has been no interest in the building, which is located on the former Wurtsmith Air Force Base at 5671 N. Skeel Ave.