Commissioners pursue next step for "The Wex"

County commissioners are looking to make improvements to the Wexford County Civic Center.

The Wexford County Civic Center has seen its fair share of disrepair the past few years, with multiple millages aimed at supporting the programs having failed.

Wednesday, commissioners agreed â??The Wexâ?? is important to the community and deserves a little help. They voted 7-to-1 to pursue supporting the Wex.

â??It gave each of the board members an opportunity to be able to indicate are you supportive of trying to maintain and operate the Wex,â?? said Commissioner William Goodwill.

The problem, historically, is trying to find the funds to get the Civic Center back up and running.

â??We've not been able to adequately finance it to keep it maintained at the level it should be,â?? said Goodwill.

Non-profit Boon Sports Management will take over operations, using mainly volunteers to run activities, but since the building hasn't been well maintained, the county is trying to figure out what projects need to be done.

â??What is it that we have to do to get it to the point where it needs to be?â?? asked Goodwill.

The recreation committee will now take a look at the building and pass its recommendations on to the finance committee to figure out millage parameters.

â??The only way we're going to be able to operate it is if we have a millage. We have to now see what's the best time to be able to do that and what is the amount it should be and what's the duration it should be,â?? explained Goodwill.

A couple people voiced concerns at the meeting, saying they would not vote for another millage. Others said the Wex is worth the investment.

â??It's something for everybody,â?? said Peter Gabriel of Cadillac. â??They have gun shows, carnivals, they have everything there.

â??We need the Wex. We need it for the community and we need to be able to pay for it,â?? said Goodwill. â??We donâ??t just want to say give us some money to operate and not have people know what that money is going to go for.â??

The recreation committee meets Thursday. Commissioner Goodwill said they could address the issues right away, but they may need more time to get everything in order before passing it along to the finance committee.

The earliest the issue could be brought before voters is August if commissioners decide to go ahead with the finance committeeâ??s millage proposal.

â??They should figure out a way to make it work. They figure out how to make everything else work: the roads, and everything else they need. This is just something nobody wants to take control of,â?? said Gabriel.