Proposed VA Clinic receives site plan review

Indian River will soon be the home of a new VA Clinic. An official groundbreaking took place in the summer of 2022 and the new 13,234 square foot clinic will open in the summer of 2023.

The clinic, located off of M-68 just east of Indian River and less than half a mile from I-75 Exit 310, will provide laboratory and phlebotomy services and include at least nine examination rooms along with outpatient procedure rooms, a Patient Aligned Care Team, staff rooms, conference rooms, lounge and equipment storage areas.

At the groundbreaking ceremony, VA Medical Center Director Chris Cauley said that when the VA began looking for a more accessible place in northern lower Michigan "Indian River just stood out."

Jeff Konczak the owner of Alpena Marc, LLC, which will be the owner of the building, noted the design includes a larger parking lot than required in order to accommodate veterans who come to the Indian River VA Clinic, but also plan on camping or boating while in the area.

The facility will employ more than three dozen staff members. Cauley said, "We want our employees to be a part of the community."

The proximity to Indian River's downtown business district also made the location appealing. Konczak said that while veterans are at their appointments, family members will frequently come into town and shop. Konczak said that locating the clinic in Indian River is something that works for both the clinic and the community.

"It's going to be beautiful. It will be an amazing addition to the community. From a corridor standpoint, it's placed in exactly the right spot. The traffic on I-75 will bring veterans into Indian River who have never been there."

DDA Streetscape project

As the Tuscarora Township Downtown Development Authority completes a major streetscape project, the project's finances are in good shape.

With most of the bills paid on the $2.2 million project, the DDA still has more than $500,000 left in the budget.

The DDA is still working on putting more lighting in the area near River and Lake streets, adding more underground hook-ups so that additional utility poles can be removed on the east side of Straits Highway in the project area, and additional concrete work to widen the sidewalk on the west side of the road near Barbara Street.

The DDA is also working with the Michigan Department of Transportation and Cheboygan County Road Commission to get an easement to install a well to provide landscaping irrigation at the new sturgeon sculpture on the corner of M-68/Straits Hwy.