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Five-story building to replace Mill End in Bay City’s downtown | MLive.com
There are a couple of things that caught my attention in a local news story. As a resident of Bay City, I am glad that some decisions are finally being made concerning the vacant Mill End building. Yet, I’m not sold on the idea of yet more condos downtown. The ones that are already downtown Bay City haven’t sold. I’m conflicted. Despite my pessimism regarding additional condos downtown, I am relieved to realize I’m not the only one that sees the potential in Bay City.
That is precisely the problem though. Bay City has everything going for it, and yet, local political corruption, poor choices by local politicians, and general pessimism concerning the economy stifles any progress. It has to turn around sometime, right? That is exactly what I keep telling myself. The recent story of the Mill End building symbolizes what is currently wrong with the city of Bay City. A local business is forced out in the name of development, only to have the building sit vacant for the next six years, to the point where it is not longer possible to renovate the building. What exactly was accomplished here?
As a child, I shopped at Mill End downtown Bay City with my Dad. Mill End specialized in all kinds of outdoor clothing and supplies. As a hunter and all-around outdoorsman, it is easy to see why my Dad shopped there. The article above describes how the 150 year-old building is now beyond repair. Sadly, that does not surprise me. Even as a small child in the early to mid-1980s, the building seemed ancient. It creaked, moaned, and definitely seemed to belong to another era. That is probably why I remember shopping there with my Dad. The experience left an impression. I just wish that the building could’ve been saved a decade or so ago.
My hope echoes that of a commenter on the article. I would love to see a new restaurant or new retail space that would cater to those utilizing the river. The building is right off the Saginaw River. It is also near the gateway to Wenonah Park. Throughout the entire summer, downtown Bay City is known for its festivals. Each summer weekend brings something new, from the Bay City River Roar in June to the Hell’s Half Mile Film and Music Festival at the end of September/early October; there is literally something nearly every single weekend. It would be nice to see the city revitalize and utilize the waterfront to its full potential.
I just don’t see the attraction for young professionals. It might be nice to live right downtown, but the big question is this: will it be affordable? There just aren’t the jobs here for young professionals. I live and breathe that reality every single day. Until there are good paying professional jobs that allow young professionals to use their education, you do not have a market for additional downtown condos.