By SUE SUCHYTA
DEARBORN – Camp Dearborn will receive $2 million from the Michigan Economic Development Corporation for infrastructure upgrades and platform tents, along with new paddleboats purchased by the Parks and Recreation Department.
The MEDC state grant will provide $92,500 for new platform tents, $120,000 for blighted trailer removal, $200,000 for broadband and wireless upgrades and $300,000 for electrical infrastructure upgrades.
Also included is $400,000 for asphalt work, including basketball and tennis court repairs, $400,000 for biking and hiking trails and $487,500 for canteen and comfort station repairs.
The infrastructure work will have zero impact on the city’s general fund. The city will receive 50 percent of the state funds at the beginning of the grant agreement and the balance upon documentation of the completion of the balance of the work and after the first half of the grant has been spent.
The city has also purchased 10 paddle boats – six with animal themes and four standard units – which will be managed with camp personnel, instead of a third-party provider.
The purchase price, $51,300, is expected to have a three- to four-year return on investment, with a $10 rental fee for 55 minutes.
It is planned that the boats will be in use for the 2023 season.
A test of 10 platform tents will occur in the summer of 2023, with $85,000 allocated to construct platforms and install the tents and $7,500 for site preparation, which is covered by the state MEDC grant.
The tent construction is scheduled to begin in April or May, with the goal that the tents be ready in June for rental.
Platform tents will rent for $99 to $119 per night. They do not include an electrical hookup. They include bed frames and mattresses, Adirondack chairs, benches and a table, a water container, a dry storage box and other camping items.
Tentrr, the selected vendor, provides delivery, installation and set-up. They also provide an online booking and reservation system, which they have used for state of Michigan campgrounds.
Camp Dearborn’s old canvas tents were removed last season.
The 10 trial tents in 2023 will be located near the pool and restroom facilities. City officials believe that the tent investment would have a two-year payback.