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Bathhouse opening may be delayed till spring

Scooters, e-bikes discussed

By: Kristyne E. Demske | St. Clair Shores Sentinel | Published December 16, 2019

 Pictured is the bathhouse under construction at Blossom Heath Park in fall 2018.

Pictured is the bathhouse under construction at Blossom Heath Park in fall 2018.

File photo by Kristyne E. Demske

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ST. CLAIR SHORES — A grand opening celebration for the bathhouse under construction at Blossom Heath Park will likely be pushed back until spring to wait for the installation of concrete and landscaping, said Community Development and Inspection Director Chris Rayes at the Dec. 11 meeting of the Tax Increment Finance Authority, or TIFA.

He told TIFA that there was a delivery problem with the siding company, but that was expected to be in St. Clair Shores by the week of Dec. 15, and railings were planned for delivery the following week. Overhead doors were set to be installed Dec. 12, and because the heat has already been installed, painting can begin after the installation of the doors.

But the concrete will have to wait until spring, Rayes said, because of the plan to have exposed aggregate and finished concrete. That would be damaged if it was covered with plastic while it cures, which would need to happen with a winter installation.

“We’ll get it graded off and made safe, (but) we don’t want to have a bad product,” Rayes said.

He said that he anticipates being able to open the facility in May if all goes according to plan.

Parks and Recreation Director Henry Bowman said that he is still aiming to have an Aqua Freeze event, but it may have to be held in Wahby Park instead since the bathhouse won’t be finished. In addition, he said that he was changing the potential date for the ice carving festival to Feb. 15 because of downtown Detroit’s Winter Blast, which is scheduled for the weekend of Feb. 7-9. Bowman had previously said Aqua Freeze could be held Feb. 8.

“I’m still pushing forward to run the event ... if I can sell enough” sponsorships for ice sculptures, he said. “I’m holding off a little bit, but at the same time, I’m trying to move forward.”

TIFA members also discussed the Gotcha scooters and e-bikes that were planned for the Nautical Mile in 2019, but were never installed by the company.

Assistant City Manager Bill Gambill said that he spoke with the representative who oversaw the installation of the company’s scooters at Michigan State University, and he said that the school had a successful six-week season. The company said that it plans to install the ride sharing devices on April 1, 2020.

City Manager Matthew Coppler said that St. Clair Shores may be having trouble with the company because the city doesn’t fit its traditional business model of a large city or college town.

“My gut tells me they’re not looking at us as a traditional growth (model, so they) might not put resources behind it,” he said.

Although companies like ShiftTransit, which provides MoGo scooters to the city of Detroit, were more expensive during the first round of request for proposals, TIFA Chair Richard Widgren said that perhaps taking another look at companies that are already operating around metro Detroit might be a better idea.

“I don’t get a warm feeling about this group at all,” he said of Gotcha. “They’ve had enough time to deliver on their promise. We’ve got the time to find out what the hard alternatives would be. Let’s find out who can deliver (and) what it’s going to cost.”

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