CALEDONIA TOWNSHIP - A park committee in Caledonia Township was awarded a $245,400 grant from the Michigan Trust Fund last week, which it will use to make comprehensive improvements to the picnic area of North End Park in Hubbard Lake over the next two years.
The grant is an official green light to the second phase of Hubbard Lake's North End Park improvement project, which started last month with a $190,000 DNR waterways grant that paid for an expanded parking lot, a new pit toilet, new docks, a new ramp, landscaping, and other work around the waterfront. Committee Chairman Gail Thornton said the waterways grant had to be tied to boating, but the Michigan Trust Fund grant was awarded based on the committee's intentions for the project.
"We applied to use it to make the picnic area complete. Within that, we are planning to put down a new well, there are two pavilions with cement floors and electricity, a volleyball court and some walkways, a new bathroom facility for men and women and a changing room, and touch up the beach area a little bit with some landscaping, that type of thing," he said.
The new grant will require about an $80,000 match from the township and will not be available to the committee until the DNR trust fund board prepares a bill to be sent to the legislature, and the legislature votes to release the funds. Thornton said this may happen any time between February and late summer.
"We're still going to say we'll have it done by summer 2014. We might get lucky and get it done this year, but it would really require the legislature to do something positive," he said. "We are really excited, because this is going to allow us to get done what we hoped we could get done, and that's going to really turn that piece of property into something we can be proud of."
Thornton said the first phase of the project is gradually nearing completion, as construction crews have accomplished about as much as possible until spring, at which point they will expand the drive area, put in a new gravel base and repave it, build a new bathroom, and complete new docks and landscaping. They already have installed underground tubing for new power lines, new rocks and ditching, and a new ramp.
Andrew Westrope can be reached via e-mail at email@example.com or by phone at 358-5693.