MacArthur Park Ribbon CuttingWednesday, January 8, 2020
Several years ago, the Watershed Council received a planning grant from the Michigan Coastal Zone Management Program and matching fund support from the Fred A. and Barbara M. Erb Family Foundation to create plans for two fledgling water trail projects. We worked with partner communities along the river, Oakland and Macomb County officials, SEMCOG, Michigan Sea Grant, Lake St. Clair Tourism Initiative and others to create the Clinton River and Lake St. Clair Water Trail Master Plan.
One of the key outcomes of the plan was to focus on installing universally-accessible canoe/kayak launches at strategic points along the river and Lake St. Clair. As a result, the Mt. Clemens MacArthur Park launch project began in late 2016 and early last fall, the launch, named after the late Neil E. Dempsey, was officially completed. Supporters, local officials and community members gathered to celebrate with a ribbon-cutting this past June.
Fundraising for this “first” in the watershed started back in late 2016 and was bolstered by a $50,000 Michigan Economic Development Matching Grant to support a crowdfunding campaign. Many thanks to everyone who donated to this innovative project including special thanks to those who gave gifts of $5,000: Advancing Macomb, Mt. Clemens Rotary Club and its generous members, Chief Financial Credit Union, Greg and Laura Fournier, Spencer Trent Seufert and the CRWC’s Board Restricted Fund.
And, a big standing ovation to Mt. Clemens Mayor Barb Dempsey, Macomb County Executive Mark Hackel, and Becky Quinn, owner of Simple Adventures Watersports, for starring in the promotional video that helped “git ‘er done!”
Since the MacArthur Park launch project was initiated, additional launches have been installed or are in active planning phases in parks throughout the watershed including Camp Agawam in Orion Township, North Clinton River Park and Rotary Park in Sterling Heights, George George Park in Clinton Township, the planned Webber Paddle Park in Chesterfield Township, among others.