By BOB OLIVER
DEARBORN — Camp Dearborn is looking to make improvements to attract more guests over the coming years.
The City Council May 6 authorized Finance Director Jim O’Connor to use $578,250 for capital improvement projects for the camp, which is in Milford but owned but the city of Dearborn.
Mayor John O’Reilly Jr. stressed that the money is not coming from the general budget of the city, but from money saved by the camp.
“The camp is now operating where they have revenues in excess of their costs so these are funds that they have set aside to be used for the improvements and additions,” O’Reilly said.
The projects include the addition of eight more resort cabins, the beach will be improved and the installation of a zip line for guests.
The camp, which is laid across over 600 acres, currently has eight resort cabins and 30 rustic cabins, as well as tent and camping areas.
“Resort cabins have been very popular for the camp and they have water and sewer hookups, whereas the rustic cabins are for more of the camping experience and ‘toughing’ it out,” Parks and Recreation Director Greg Warner said.
Warner said that last year the resort cabins had an occupancy rate of
about 88 percent for the summer, which helped contribute to the funds available for the additions.
“It just makes sense to add more cabins and go in that direction because of their popularity,” Warner said. “We’re projecting to be about $386,000 to good in terms of revenues over expenditures for the fiscal year and the cabins are a big part of that.”
O’Connor said the projects need to be competitively bid out and then engineered before work can be started.
“We’re looking at work possibly beginning in the fall 2014 to be ready for the opening of the camp in 2015,” O’Connor said.
Council President Susan Dabaja said the council is happy to see the success at Camp Dearborn and didn’t object to the improvements.
“The resort cabins have been a great success at Camp Dearborn and they are usually booked up all summer long,” Dabaja said. “These improvements will end up paying for themselves.”
(Bob Oliver can be reached at [email protected].)