Celebrating the restoration or historic icons

by Peter Jakey–Managing Editor

The community of Rogers City will be celebrating the completion of the Westminster Park gazebo and the Rogers Theater marquee projects and the start of a new one in the Main Street district, the groundbreaking for the restoration of the former Malloy/Rice building that will become the Huron State Bank (HSB) annex. 

It all starts with the groundbreaking of the HSB annex Friday at 192 North Second St. at 11 a.m. 

Everyone is invited to celebrate the start of this Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) project led by the HSB team. 

The project will redevelop a vacant, historic building on Michigan Avenue. When completed, the project will include commercial office space and two residential apartments.

The project is expected to generate a total capital investment of $1.4 million and create two full-time equivalent jobs with the support of a $579,000 Michigan Community Revitalization Program performance-based grant. 

Additionally, the Rogers City Brownfield Redevelopment Authority received Michigan Strategic Funds approval of $101,453 in state tax capture for the reimbursement of brownfield activities at the site.

The city of Rogers City is expected to support the project with the approval of a 12-year Obsolete Property Rehabilitation Act exemption valued at $88,692 and has approved the local portion of the brownfield plan, valued at $160,381. The project has also received a $70,400 blight elimination program grant from the Presque Isle County Land Bank.

In December 2022, HSB was notified by the MEDC that it was the recipient of a recommendation for funding from the Michigan Strategic Fund. That was officially approved last week.


Gazebo dedication is Saturday

The dedication of the Westminster Park gazebo and checkerboard Saturday will be the next day during the annual Kiwanis Fall Fest at the park. The park benches are already in place for the 11 a.m. ceremony, one hour into fall fest activities.

The gazebo has a proud and important history, as it served as the original band- stand for the Rogers City Band, hosting a great many concerts in its day.

Michigan Limestone general manager, Carl D. Bradley volunteered to build the bandstand at the Calcite Limestone quarry in 1918.

Upon its completion, the bandstand was housed on the Presque Isle County Courthouse grounds.

In 1934, upon the completion of the new and current City Hall, the band stand was relocated across Michigan Avenue to the City Hall property.

The bandstand remained next to City Hall until 1954, when a new bandshell was constructed in Lakeside Park.

The old bandstand was stored next to the city wastewater treatment, then up on Bradley Highway, gradually falling into a state of disrepair.

In 1973, it was acquired and restored by Donelda McWilliams, and relocated to what is now Beck Funeral Home.

By 1989, the bandstand had been acquired by the city, further restored by the Optimist Club, and relocated onto the foundation of a no-longer-used water fountain in Westminster Park, where it remains to this day as a potentially idyllic spot for weddings and community events.

Unfortunately, after three decades the structure needed restoring again and Saturday’s dedication is a culmination of those successful efforts.

Lighting up downtown at Rogers Theater

Six days after the gazebo dedication, the marquee will light up downtown Rogers City, the likes that have not been seen for decades with energy efficient lights and fully-functioning chaser lights.

This special celebration will be Sept. 29 at 6:30 p.m. before the opening of the MANHATTAN SHORT Film Festival that will run through the weekend.

Earlier this year, Presque Isle District Library was awarded full funding of $61,252 to restore and repair the iconic sign.

Mark Chalou, or, Mr. Neon of Charlou Signs, a professional theater marquee restoration company was hired to complete the extensive detailed work. 

The 6,000 bulbs that light up the marquee are now functioning. 

When the lights are finally back on at the theater, everyone is invited to enjoy cake under the marquee.