DNR grant would offer universal access to kayak launch

By: Julie Snyder | Mount Clemens - Clinton - Harrison Journal | Published March 14, 2019

 Mount Clemens officials hope to receive grant funding this year to reconstruct this stretch of Jones Street at MacArthur Park and allow universal access to the kayak launch located at the Clinton River.

Mount Clemens officials hope to receive grant funding this year to reconstruct this stretch of Jones Street at MacArthur Park and allow universal access to the kayak launch located at the Clinton River.

Photo by Julie Snyder

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MOUNT CLEMENS — City officials in Mount Clemens are seeking grant funding from the Michigan Department of Natural Resources to bring universal access to the popular kayak launch at MacArthur Park.

During a regular meeting earlier this month, the City Commission unanimously approved a request to submit a 2019 Michigan Department of Natural Resources Trust Fund Grant application for the reconstruction of Jones Street, just south of North River Road at MacArthur Park, with a minimum local match of 25 percent, or $75,000.

The project is expected to cost approximately $300,000.

Mayor Barb Dempsey said that stretch of Jones Street is in “poor condition.” She said the grant, including the city match, would fund development work as well as rebuilding and reconfiguring the street.

The kayak launch came to fruition as a result of a crowdfunding campaign by the Clinton River Watershed Council, or CRWC, and Advancing Macomb. Private and corporate donations, including a $2,500 donation from AT&T made the day the effort was announced in early January 2017, helped the campaign reach — then exceed — a $50,000 goal on Jan. 28, 2017. The effort ultimately raised $60,760, and the kayak launch opened that spring.

The CRWC said improvements that would also be made through the project include kayak storage lockers, enhanced pedestrian connections to the boardwalk, wayfinding and interpretive signage, visible art murals along water routes by local artists, universally accessible restrooms, and picnic tables with charging stations.

MacArthur Park, located next to the Macomb YMCA, is one of 12 kayak and canoe launch locations identified by the CRWC through a grant provided by the Coastal Zone Management under the CRWC’s WaterTowns program. Amenities and enhancements along the water trail will provide opportunities for paddlers to stop and experience destinations that otherwise would be missed, watershed officials have said.

“I think this is a great project,” said City Commissioner Denise Mentzer. She said the Little Free Library that is located on Jones Street at the park entrance would be relocated to a yet-to-be-determined location while the work is being done. The library is sponsored by the Mount Clemens Optimist Club.

The city planned to submit its grant application immediately, as the deadline to do so is April 1.

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