PINCKNEY — The Pinckney Recreation Area is earmarked to receive $4.44 million for six park improvement projects that could get underway in 2023.
The funds are part of the Building Michigan Together Plan, signed by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer in March. The plan uses $4.8 billion in federal funding for roads, water, high-speed internet and a large investment in state and local parks.
The funding is part of the federal COVID-19 relief program, The American Rescue Plan Act, according to the Michigan Department of Natural Resources. From that $4.8 billion, $250 million has been allocated for the state park system.
Federal funding requirements say the funds must be committed to a project by Dec. 31, 2024, and spent on that project by Dec. 31, 2026, according to the DNR.
The state plans to spent $30.2 million to create a new state park in Flint, and $200 million to benefit local park systems — $65 million through Michigan Spark grants program and $135 million dedicated for greenway projects in Detroit, Grand Rapids and the upper peninsula.
Among parks included in the list of state parks is the Pinckney Recreation Area. Park Manager Chuck Dennison said he has been part of the DNR for 25 years and didn’t expect such a funding boost.
“It’s monumental. I’ve never seen an influx of funds to repair infrastructure that’s 50 to 60 years old. I never thought I’d see the day that we would be able to do this and it really will have a long-term impact and benefit the visitors of the park,” Dennison said.
He added the projects at the park are being phased in because they can’t do all of them in one year. Additionally, the projects are in the planning stage right now and because of materials and cost increases, the list of projects and final dollar figure may change.
Planned park improvements include:
- Reconstruct, resurface, chip seal and pave (as needed) campground and day-use area roads, including Silver Lake
- Renovate or replace Bruin Lake North campground toilet and shower building
- Reconstruct, resurface, chip seal and pave Bruin Lake campground entrance road and campground loops (as needed). Improve campground drainage
- Replace the Bruin Lake campground sanitation station
- Replace the Bruin Lake campground garage/workshop
- Modernize concession building in Silver Lake day-use area
“Other than our maintenance garage over at Bruin Lake, all of the other projects are aimed at improving facilities directly to visitors. That’s really important to us,” Dennison said.
Phase one projects
Phase one of DNR’s plan for state parks kicked off recently, including improvements totaling almost $16 million in Bay, Cheboygan, Delta, Iosco, Mackinac, Monroe, Ontonagon, Saginaw, Washtenaw and Wayne counties.
According to Ron Olson, DNR Parks and Recreation chief, the projects were not chosen by priority, but were chosen for being “shovel ready.” Among the projects are:
- Bay City State Park ($1.5 million) – refresh and renovate interior/exterior of Saginaw Bay Visitor Center.
- Cheboygan State Park ($750,000) – construct upgraded electrical and water distribution systems in the modern campground, replacing below ground water mains, electrical conduit, meters and distribution panels, upgrade jug fillers and electrical pedestals.
- Fayette Historic State Park ($600,000) – reconstruct the south wall of the west casting house in the park’s historic townsite
- Fayette Historic State Park ($400,000) – reconstruct approximately 300 feet of retaining wall adjacent to the historic charcoal kilns in the park’s historic townsite.
- Tawas Point State Park ($455,500) – to repair water-damaged brick on the historic Tawas Point Lighthouse.
- Straits State Park ($2 million) – to replace the two upper campground toilet and shower buildings, which will mirror finish details from newly constructed buildings in the park’s lower campground.
- Sterling State Park’s Heritage Trail ($425,000) – to stabilize the riverbank in preparation for trail resurfacing.
- Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park ($1.4 million) – to renovate and preserve the Kaug Wudjoo modern lodge, staff quarters, mechanic’s shop, carpenter’s shop and fire barn. Renovations include the construction, replacement of new roofs, siding, enhancements to accessibility features. Utility and structural upgrades also are included.
- New state-county park in Saginaw ($867,000) – to construct parking areas and a park entrance for a state park already in development on the old General Motors site and nearby landfill. The project will include the construction of new concrete bumpers, solar lighting, parking gates that meet Americans with Disabilities Act guidelines, fencing and signage.
- Waterloo Recreation Area ($65,000) – to install a new fishing pier with more universally accessible features at Portage Lake in the Portage Lake Campground.
- Belle Isle Park ($7.5 million) – to remove lead paint and replace both the glass and upper steel structural members that support the upper dome
According to the DNR, the remaining funding will go toward a backlog of infrastructure maintenance projects on aging historic structures: camping facilities, paved and natural surface trails, parking lots, restrooms, water and sanitary systems.
Contact Livingston Daily reporter Patricia Alvord at [email protected] about news coverage.