Pinckney Recreation Area (Michigan) is receiving $4.44 million for six park improvement projects that could get underway in 2023.
According to a report, the funds are part of the Building Michigan Together Plan, signed by Governor Gretchen Whitmer in March. The plan uses $4.8 billion in federal funds for roads, water, high-speed internet, and a significant investment in state and local parks.
The funds are part of the federal COVID-19 relief program, The American Rescue Plan Act, according to the Michigan Department of Natural Resources. Of that $4.8 billion, $250 million was allocated to parks in the state park system.
Federal funding requirements stipulate that funds have to be committed to a particular project by December 31, 2024, and used on the project before December. 31 2026, as per the DNR.
The state is planning to spend $30.2 million to establish a new state park in Flint and $200 million to benefit local park systems — $65 million through the Michigan Spark grants program and $135 million dedicated to greenway projects in Detroit Grand Rapids, and the upper peninsula.
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 also said that the projects are rolled out in stages as t they cannot complete all of them in one calendar year. In addition, the projects are currently in the planning phase, and because of costs and materials increases, the list of projects and final dollar figures could change.
Planned improvements include reconstruction, resurfacing, chip seal, and paving (as needed) of campground and day-use area roads, including Silver Lake.
Renovating or replacing Bruin Lake North campground toilet and shower building.
Reconstruction, resurfacing, chip seal, and paving of Bruin Lake campground entrance road and campground loops (as needed).
Replacing the Bruin Lake campground sanitation station. Replacing the Bruin Lake campground garage/workshop and modernizing the concession building in the 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 of DNR’s plans for state parks began with nearly $16 million in improvements in Bay, Cheboygan, Delta, Iosco, Mackinac, Monroe, Ontonagon, Saginaw, Washtenaw, and Wayne counties.