New owners make marina on South River Road feel like ‘Paradise’

By: Kristyne E. Demske | Mount Clemens - Clinton - Harrison Journal | Published September 2, 2020

  Jeana Piro and Philip Wesley stand under the gazebo at Paradise Marina.

Jeana Piro and Philip Wesley stand under the gazebo at Paradise Marina.

Photo by Kristyne E. Demske

 The partners put more than $60,000 into cleaning up the marina, which they purchased in 2019.

The partners put more than $60,000 into cleaning up the marina, which they purchased in 2019.

Photo provided by Paradise Marina


HARRISON TOWNSHIP — Turn from Jefferson Avenue onto South River Road and, in just a moment, a little piece of paradise pops up along the side of the road.

Already owners of Paradise Marine Construction, Philip Wesley and his wife, Jeana Piro, partnered with Rick Velger to open Paradise Marina at 30575 South River Road in 2019.

“We kind of bought this for fun,” Piro said.

The property was an overgrown, blighted piece of land when they purchased it in February 2019, she said, and the first order of business was just cleaning it up. The partners filled six 30-yard dumpsters with garbage and brush to be hauled away.

“We live in the neighborhood, and we thought it’d be fun to fix it up,” Wesley said.

They spent the remainder of that winter raising and straightening all the docks, using their experience and equipment from their marine construction company. Then they brought in $16,000 worth of stone, as well as sod, picnic areas, flowers and security cameras.

“This place, there was nothing here,” Piro said. “We put over $60,000 in here. Little by little we added stuff.”

Since Paradise took over the area, the slips have filled up with boaters happy to have access to Lake St. Clair.

“We’ve been sold out both seasons,” Piro said.

“If you build it, they’ll come,” Wesley joked.

Along with boat docks outfitted with water and electricity, there are also gazebos and tropical plants to bring an island feel to the marina, with bars and barstools for members to use.

Piro said they’ve had great feedback from the community about the improvements to the area. Neighbors stop by to express their gratitude, honk their horns in appreciation as they pass and wave, and even, in one case, bring flowers to help continue the beautification.

“We like to fix things and make them look nice,” Piro said. “People are really excited that it’s all cleaned up.”

The marina isn’t just called Paradise because of its island vibe — Piro said the name is a tribute to her grandfather.

“My grandfather was Charles Paradise. He was very respected, (and) he had a drywall company. I wanted to name it Paradise to keep his legacy, his good name, alive,” she explained. “Everything I do, I do in his image.”

Although it may look like work is complete, Piro said they’re looking to add 10 more wells to the 52 slips they currently have by extending the seawall east along South River Road.

The project has been approved by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy, and it is working its way through the site plan approval process with the township.

“With all the high water, if we put a wall there, it’s going to help with the erosion of South River Road,” Piro said. “We’re losing land by the day. We would continue on and make the riverside even more beautiful.”