COVID relief funds could be used for improvements to Boos Recreation Center

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JACKSON, MI — Jackson officials are considering allocating federal funds for improvements to the Boos Recreation Center.

Jackson City Council will hold a hearing at its Tuesday, March 8 meeting on a proposal that would allocate $319,425 in federal funds for HVAC upgrades at the Boos Recreation Center, 210 Gilbert St.

Jackson officials previously used federal funds from the CARES Act, the Spring 2020 Coronavirus Relief Program, for protection against water cuts, evictions and foreclosures. Last year, the city allocated $120,000 to fund a foreclosure prevention program.

Related: Jackson approves additional funds for foreclosure prevention program

The Boos Recreation Center is a major gathering place for residents on Jackson’s east side, city spokesman Aaron Dimick said. Throughout the year, the city’s Parks and Recreation Department offers a variety of classes and activities for all age groups. It also serves as a warming center during the winter months and a cooling center during the summer.

It desperately needs a new heating and cooling system, Dimick said. Currently, the center has no working air conditioning and has a malfunctioning heating system, he added.

“This is a problem for the amount of physical activity that occurs in the center throughout the year, but also because adequate ventilation circulates more air and reduces the spread of COVID-19” , said Dimick. “It is important to keep residents healthy when they come to our municipal facilities for programs.

Along with the HVAC upgrade, it will also reduce the city’s energy costs, Dimick added.

The Boos Center was originally built in 1973 and uses ductwork installed nearly 50 years ago, according to the proposal. Additionally, the current boiler system was installed 20 years ago and combined with dilapidated and undersized ductwork, it does not provide the proper heating and airflow that a recreation center needs, says the proposal.

The city has already completed work at Loomis Park and the Recreation Center. Work included adding lighting around the Loomis Park basketball courts, installing a new roof over the Boos Community Center and other minor improvements.

Related: New landscaping, playground, upcoming renovations at Loomis Park

Jackson received a total of $945,445 from the federal government in coronavirus-related relief. Block grants allow the city to allocate funds at its discretion to address more specific issues in the community. The allocated funds will come from the remaining balance of CARES Act 2020 funds, Dimick said.

After the hearing, the city will review the bids and select a company to complete the HVAC work, Dimick said. This will likely take place at the Tuesday, March 22 meeting, he added.

Although there is currently no complete timeline for the project, the city aims to complete the work by August 1, he said. The city is planning further improvements to the Boos Center, which will contribute to the overall structure and function of the building. Those plans will be finalized throughout 2022, and funding for the projects will likely come from American Rescue Plan Act funds, Dimick said.

The Jackson City Council meeting is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday, March 8 on the second floor of the City Council Chambers at Jackson City Hall, 161 W. Michigan Ave.

Jackson City Council meetings can be viewed on the city’s website and on the city’s Facebook page.

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