City Council on Monday night unanimously approved the submission of an $85,000 grant application to the Great Lakes Fisheries Trust that would help pay for a new fish cleaning station.
“That would likely be built by the bathrooms out there,” City Manager Pat McGinnis said. “We’re thinking out there (by the restrooms) because it’s near a water source and there’s ample parking spaces.”
The estimated cost of the station is about $265,000, with the grant paying for about 32 percent.
“We’d still have to come up with $180,000 from other sources,” McGinnis said.
The 32-by-24-foot station would have eight cleaning tables, including two ADA-accessible tables. It would be outfitted with commercial sprayers, draining racks and cutting boards to provide anglers with necessary support to conveniently clean their catch.
Other planned features include LED lighting, concrete floors for easy cleaning and wheeled access, educational signage, and a bulletin board to advertise upcoming fishing tournaments and other angler-related activities.
McGinnis noted that the cleaning station would be different from the one at Chinook Pier, in that it would use a freezer system for fish waste disposal instead of a disposal grinder connected to a sewer system.
"We don't think (the sewer) will take that kind of waste," he said.
Users would put the fish waste in the freezer system, and a company would come and remove it for another use.
“There’s a service that comes around and collects the fish waste for use in pet food products,” McGinnis explained.
City officials say a similar fish cleaning station is used in Ludington.
"We were quite impressed when we went to Ludington and saw they bypassed the whole sewer problem," Mayor Geri McCaleb said.
McCaleb noted that the station is an amenity sought by area anglers.
"Being able to clean your fish before you head for home is something that has been asked for for quite some time," she said.
While he voted for the grant application, Councilman Bob Monetza brought up concerns about the cost of the cleaning station — from constructing it to the ongoing maintenance.
"This is a cost, all the way around," he said. "There's no payback other than the pleasure of using it."
Monetza said that while it would be a nice amenity, he would be more supportive once there is a more firm number of where the city's match would come from.