It was just over two years ago when the first marijuana dispensary came to Big Rapids Today, the city has all 12 shops operating in Mecosta County.
The introduction of recreational marijuana has helped Mecosta County in a large way. The county has received over $677,000 in additional revenue from the dispensaries last year.
“My board’s intention is to use the money to do some things to benefit the community at large,”
Financial Administrator Paul Bullock said.
One of the major projects is the new Dragon Trail system. The 47-mile pathway will circumnavigate the Hardy Dam Pond and will be accessible for mountain biking, hiking, running, snowshoeing, and cross- country skiing.
According to Bullock, the county is putting about $225,000 towards the project and will have “over 20
miles of trail built by the end of the summer.”
Along with the trails, the county is also forwarding $100,000 towards generator systems at county parks.
At the four main parks, Paris Park, Merrill-Gorrel Park, School Section Park, and Brower Park, the County Parks Commission will be installing high-powered generators that can help pump water from wells and bathrooms. This will allow the parks to become adequate shelters available for citizens to use in case of events like intensive weather.
A third major chunk of the funds will be approximately $200,000 placed over the next two years towards child hunger. Bullock said this includes a potential partnership with non-profits to propose how the money is spent.
“My board wants to partner with people who are already doing these things and have shown ability and passion for it. Typically, they will already be a 501(c)(3) recognized by the IRS as a non-profit. They’ll give us a proposal for how they will use the money and we will contract them to provide the services.”
Additional funds will be placed into multiple other places, including around $62,000 towards a new
marine boat for the County Sheriff’s Office, up to $60,000 towards additional safety equipment for first responders, and about $50,000 for the local, free medical clinic.
“None of these numbers are graven in stone,” Bullock said. “They’re the working numbers in the vicinity that the board is considering. These numbers are subject to change.”