Below are questions posed by the MHA, with responses from the MDNR in red:
- Timeline for the ceiling renovation / tear-out including ....
Wall cap repair / shore up.
Paint of walls.
Cleanup of area.
Install netting over courts (as metal mesh ceiling was nixed)
- No timeline at this point. The architect has issued revised drawings for Bulletin 15.Rev. 4 today, Monday August 26th for revised pricing to remove roof, new bulletin does not include replacing the roof with the steel mesh, as steel mesh is not fundable at this time.
- I will provide information as to when we have revised pricing and schedule for scope of work.
- Status of maintenance:
We spoke on the phone concerning the lack of attention to the court area - whether in current use or not. It appears as abandoned and is a blight to the Island and bodes poorly on the DNR’s responsibility to Belle Isle and our state. You mentioned a possible new vendor for this maintenance. Please forward info regarding this.
- Reasons for lack of movement:
We were told funds for ceiling tear-out (and painting) were approved and available. This could have been done in the spring as the work had to be done no matter the direction of renovation. Yet no movement occurred even when it was determined the ceiling would not be replaced. Please write specifics as to why no repairs to the courts happened.
- Funding for additional scope of work was proposed for Belle Isle Capital Outlay FY 2020 Budget. This budget was submitted and reviewed in July 2019 to PRD management (budget submittal is aligned with state-wide PRD budget review schedule). Funding was not submitted or approved for additional scope of work before July 2019.
- Funding amount needed to complete work was not available in Spring 2019 (reviewed this summer and the appropriate amount was requested int the budget for FY 2020).
- Funding was not available in spring of 2019.
Let me be frank. The communication between the DNR and the citizenry concerning this situation is poor at best. Emails and phone calls to the DNR have been left unanswered since the email dated July 2. The fact that the courts have been left dormant for close to two years compounds the frustration by the people who have used them in the passed, who have purchased annual park permits because of same, and who have supported Belle Isle’s upkeep over the years. Scott, I invite you and the other DNR representatives cc’ed on this email to please tell me how you will remedy this lack of response.
I have updated your group as I have had information available to me from our project team to share. We can only request and approve work as funding is available, see above. We cannot expect our consultants to forsee all work that maybe needed, particularly when most of the structures on Belle Isle have had little to no maintenance for such an extended period of time. The structural issue of the roof was not discovered until last fall and the funding to make repairs was not available until this summer. I realize the funding cycles to not align with your association’s expectations, however please note that Belle Isle’s infrastructure budget is very limited compared to the need island-wide.
Considering there are very limited resources for Belle Isle and it is one of the states most visited parks, the percentage of funds dedicated to date on the handball courts compared to other much more frequented visited attractions with greater capital needs, has been significant.
- I responded to you in an email dated Friday, July 19th, attached.