GLADWIN – The Gladwin Business and Professional Association (GBPA) held their annual meeting on Wednesday, Feb. 5 at the Riverwalk Place in Gladwin.

After introductions were made, Lori Stout, treasurer of the GBPA, gave an annual financial report. During the report, Stout noted that part of the savings money was set aside for the speaker system that is set to be installed in downtown Gladwin. Board member Tammy Hawblitzel of S & H Engraving gave an update on the speaker system.

“We put a set of speakers on my building [S & H],” Hawblitzel said. “we’re also going to put a set on Dirk Presidio’s building [Burkhart-Presidio Insurance Agency] as well so hopefully we can get a better idea of how the sound is going to be and a better idea of how many sets of speakers we will need; we’re one step closer.”

President of the GBPA, Dirk Presidio continued by thanking everyone involved in the January Business After Hours meeting and announcing the future dates for the new year. There will not be a Business After Hours meeting for February, otherwise the meetings will be held every second Thursday of each month. These events take place at various businesses around Gladwin. For information on the locations for the meetings, visit the GBPA website at gladwinonline.com/events. The times for the events will be announced closer to each of their dates.

Lavel Smith, secretary of the group, reached out to the group for input on Tuesdays in the Park. This event, that primarily takes place over the summer months, struggled last season. The event has seen over 500 people in the past, however, the largest crowd last year was around 200 people. The DDA has helped with the cost of performers for these past few events according to Smith. 

“It’s very difficult to keep this going,” Smith said. “For the last couple of years, attendance has been down for these events.”

Smith is open to new ideas for the event as well as any changes that could draw in the crowds the event has seen in the past. 

Mike Ridley gave an update on the Trail of Two Cities, a project that is connecting a paved trail between Gladwin and Beaverton. Currently, the trail is roughly two-and-a-half miles long in Gladwin. Once the trail is completed, it will span 10 miles long. The trail will feature four trailheads each with a kayak and canoe launch. Outside of limited grant money, the project has also had regular fundraising contributions including the Adult Prom public event scheduled for Feb. 15. Construction on the trail should begin in late spring or early Summer according to Ridley.

The Gladwin County Community Foundation Soup Challenge will be held on March 14 and will cost $10 per person. The event features 10 restaurants who each create different soups for the attendees to test and vote on. Raffle tickets and prizes will also be held at the event for the participants. All proceeds from the foundation are put back into the city of Gladwin in forms such as local scholarships and donations.

City manager, Chris Shannon spoke on the water filtration plant, mentioning that it is 95 percent complete or more. For about three weeks, the plant has been operating offline for testing and qualification checks. He also addressed the Farmers Market expansion. 

“The Farmer’s Market expansion project wasn’t my idea, it wasn’t Bob Moffit’s idea, it was born out of the success of the [existing] Farmer’s Market.” Shannon said.

Shannon is in the process of reviewing the bids they put on the project and hopes to have the expansion constructed this season. The expansion is also set to be connected to a new Historic Village for a unified destination in Gladwin. The budget for the Historic Village is “a bit larger” according to Shannon, however, he is working on grant applications for the project. 

“If we are able to pull this off, I think it will be a real gem for our community.” Shannon said.

To keep up to date on all future events coming to Gladwin, visit the GBPA website at gladwinonline.com/events

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