We hope you enjoy this abbreviated version of the
Serving Frankenmuth Since 1906
Vol. 113 No. 15 - In our 113th year!
Wednesday, October 17, 2018
THE CITY OF FRANKENMUTH . . . received the President's Award from Keep Michigan Beautiful, Inc. for their Cass River Fish Passage Project. Former City Manager Charlie Graham, (photo on left) and his wife Ann accepted the plaque from KMB's Dan Welihan. PROST! WINE BAR & CHARCUTERIE . . . received the Michigan Award from Keep Michigan Beautiful, Inc. at last Friday's awards luncheon at the Bavarian Inn Lodge. Presenting the award (photo on right) was KMB's Dan Welihan, left, to Prost! owners Zak and Korina McClellan.
Rock ramp project, Prost! honored by Keep Michigan Beautiful, Inc.
The City of Frankenmuth hosted the 56th annual 1018 Keep Michigan Beautiful Awards Banquet, with a pair of community projects being honored.
The KMB Committee regularly moves it annual fall conference to different locations in the state, with Frankenmuth fortunate to have this opportunity many times over the past five decades.
The Bavarian Inn Lodge hosted this year’s conference and awards on Friday, October 12.
The KMB Committee kicked off the conference a day earlier by planting a King Crimson maple tree at The Michigan Heroes Museum, formerly known as Michigan’s Military and Space Heroes Museum, 1250 Weiss Street.
The ceremony was led by KMB President Joanne Welihan, with introductions by KMB First Vice-President Bill Strong and the tree blessing by KMB Second Vice-President Don Graham.
The tree was planted near the museum driveway, just west of the Army tank. Once planted, the tree was dedicated to Verna VanDevelde, a Frankenmuth resident and long-time KMB executive board member. A plaque was placed at the base of the tree. Currently, VanDevelde is the KMB treasurer.
Several Frankenmuth City Beautification Committee members attended the tree planting, including Linda Woodle, Al Weiss, Beth Bernthal and Andrea Muller.
Friday’s award luncheon included welcomes from Frankenmuth City Manager Bridget Smith and Martha Zehnder Kaczynski from the Lodge.
The agenda also included a silent auction, Adopt-A-Highway awards and special award winner presentations.
Prost! Wine Bar & Charcuterie was presented with the Michigan Award for its garden patio addition while the City of Frankenmuth was bestowed the President’s Award for the Cass River Fish Passage Project.
The President’s Award is given to an exceptional program, large-scale project or individual that most exemplifies the goals of KMB. The Michigan Award is given for outstanding effort in furthering the goals of KMB.
The two other award categories are Distinguished Achievement Award and Award of Merit.
The Prost garden patio project was envisioned and created by owners Zak and Korina McClellan because of an under-utilized lawn space that was available next to the existing Prost building, 576 South Main Street. Construction began in spring 2014. The McClellans knew they had to make the exterior of the patio blend with the quaint, clean and pristine aesthetics of the city. They were inspired to naturally blend in with the city’s beauty, so guests could feel comfortable and relaxed with their atmosphere.
Timber Oaks Landscaping completed the design work. The plan called for a slightly diagonal patio trim, to allow room adjacent to the sidewalk, for flowers, greenery and a black iron fence.
Concrete specialist Brian Owens from Bay City poured the concrete and assisted with other special patio features. One feature preserved from the old space was the wood gazebo.
“People really seem to love the gazebo,” Zak said.
Since there are so many sights to enjoy in the community, the McClellans wanted to ensure that guests were able to enjoy the beautiful outdoors 12 months of the year, no matter where they sat. That is why they added a 10-foot wide garage door leading into the patio.
Owens built the fire bar that seats 10-12 guests and is an excellent gathering place and visual attraction for all.
A beautiful Chardonnay vine was planted in 2015 and has grown "beyond belief,” Zak noted. Situated along the Main Street fencing and alongside patio tables, the grapes are a beautiful touch to a wine bar patio.
This past summer, the patio was expanded, enabling a gorgeous weeping cherry tree to be featured and enjoyed by patrons.
“The community absolutely loves the Prost! garden patio and they find it to be a little European getaway in the heart of Michigan,” Zak stated.
The Cass River Fish Passage Project reconnects the fish of the Saginaw Bay to more than 73 miles of historically-significant spawning grounds. Replacing the former dam, the project is a constructed rapids or rock ramp. While fish take center stage – over 140 Lake Sturgeon were re-introduced to the river in late August – the project maximizes opportunities to benefit the economy, keeping the river profile as is, adding opportunities for recreation and sustaining the benefit for the Saginaw Bay Watershed, supporting efforts to improve the water resource and world class fishery.
The project began in 2002, after solicited bids to repair the dam were received by the City of Frankenmuth and were significantly over the allocated budget.
Built before the Civil War, the dam needed repairs. To find the perfect solution for the structure was to find a balance between the needs of the local economy and environment – providing eco-benefit to the river, sustaining local employment levels in Frankenmuth’s valuable tourism sector while spurring new business development oriented toward the river.
Coincidentally, the city was invited to participate as part of an analysis of dams and their impact on the Saginaw Bay Watershed fishery. The resulting study detailed the options available to the city and held direct the city to determine the best path forward.
Following years of planning, construction of the fish passage project was completed and celebrated with a ribbon-cutting ceremony in October 2015.
Because the project is located on a Michigan river with oversight by many state and federal agencies, the project took 13 years from concept to construction completion.
“It was the perseverance of the community that carried the project to the finish line,” Frankenmuth Downtown Development Authority Director Sheila Stamiris said. Stamiris was the project manager for the city.
The project is mostly completed, with continued work along the riverbanks to satisfy Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ) requirements scheduled in the coming year. With these new improvements, the project will not change dramatically in scope.
While much of the technical work was “paid,” the groundwork was laid by unpaid volunteers with a passion for the Cass River and the Saginaw Bay watershed. Inspired by their work on this project, the volunteers began the very successful Cass River Greenway organization which continues to complete the beneficial projects on the Cass River throughout Michigan’s Thumb region.