A decades-old park amphitheater in Marysville City Park is getting a big financial boost thanks to a portion of St. Clair County’s COVID stimulus dollars.

But whether it will be renovated or demolished and replaced has not been officially decided.

At committee meetings on Thursday, county commissioners sent the use of $421,000 of US bailout funds to the full board for approval later this month.

Each council member received $500,000 of the county’s $31 million in ARP money to take back to each of their seven districts. District 4, represented by outgoing Commissioner Duke Dunn, includes Marysville and the Township of Port Huron.

“It’s something that’s been on the books for a very long time. It’s the band’s old shelter in the park,” Dunn said Thursday. “It’s very outdated. It’s something, when I was on the board they were talking about doing years ago.

St. Clair County Commissioner Duke Dunn at the St. Clair County Administrative Office Building in Port Huron Thursday, April 22, 2022.

“The only problem now (is deciding) – we’re going back and forth – to tear it down and build a complete new one, which is actually cheaper than remodeling it,” he added. “…Everyone is very supportive of building a brand new one. There will be bathrooms in there, changing rooms. (Fernandez, City Manager of Marysville) Randy involves a lot of people – different theater troupes and stuff like that. They hope to have outdoor plays and bands.

The shell of the city park group has been the source of more recent discussions between officials and residents of Marysville, as well as a former museum property along the park and Huron Boulevard.

An informal meeting was held in mid-September for residents to visit the two and provide feedback while council members assess each’s future.

Despite the consensus cited by Dunn, Marysville Mayor Wayne Pyden said nothing has been finalized and it could be some time before final talks are presented to city council. It was not on the agenda for Monday’s meeting.

“What we’re really waiting for are the minutes to see exactly what was said,” the mayor said of last month’s meeting. “We had around 40 people attend and they all had really good ideas. I think at this exact moment Randy sent in a request that we are going to rehabilitate our existing structure or we are going to build new ones.

“…The Council is going to want to see exactly what the people who attended the meeting (wanted) to see because I don’t think there was unanimous consent for us to tear it down.”

Pyden previously said he hoped to learn more about the band’s shell story, adding that it was something they were still working on.

On Thursday, Dunn also referenced his work with historians to “ensure that no one is of particular value” to the site.

Pyden said it seemed to be rumored “on both sides of the coin here” that the large American flag above the shelter had symbolism for the residents.

“And there are options to consider,” the mayor said. “There is a bit more discussion here that needs to take place on this. It will only be a matter of time. »

ARP funds do not need to have an identified use for two years.

For Dunn, who lost his primary for re-election in August, getting the green light for his share of the funds to be used in Marysville, where he lives, will be among his last acts as county commissioner.

“It’s awesome. I served in Marysville for many years and this is an opportunity to give back to my hometown,” he said. “I’m glad to have the opportunity and the funds to be able to do it. This is something that (could) probably not be done if the funds were not available.

What funds have been provided to the Township of Port Huron?

Last month, Dunn identified the Visiting Nurse Association and Blue Water Hospice Home in Port Huron Township as recipients of the remaining $79,000.

Township of Port Huron officials had hoped to use some of Dunn’s share of ARP funds on a path around Baker’s Field that Supervisor Bob Lewandowski estimated was nearly a mile long. He said these improvements would help “make it worthwhile for someone who wants to take a longer walk for exercise”.

On Friday, ignoring Marysville’s $421,000 allocation, Lewandowski said the wider distribution was “a little disappointing,” recalling earlier conversations that funds would be more narrowly spread in the $200,000 range in both communities. He said the township planned to put its own ARP funds “toward water projects that need to be done.”

Dunn could not be reached immediately Friday for a follow-up comment.

County Council Jeff Bohm said the commissioners had not set a deadline to obligate each of their $500,000. Their use was also not limited within the varied limits of the American Rescue Plan Act passed in 2021.

Contact Jackie Smith at (810) 989-6270 or [email protected] Follow her on Twitter @Jackie20Smith.