Published 11:47 am Friday, May 23, 2014
BENTON HARBOR — While some parks along the St. Joseph River offer a view back into history or a place to appreciate art, some of them are just good places for doing the kinds of things that parks are made for—getting out into nature, playing sports and games, and in the case of Carronde Park, fishing a world-class fishery right from the riverbank.
Although Carronde Park has a Benton Harbor address at 2650-2698 Riverbend Dr., the park is technically located in St. Joseph Charter Township, and it is maintained by their parks department.
“Carronde is a very well-used park,” said Tim Fenderbosch, St. Joseph Township Manager. “I would estimate that about 300 to 400 people use the park per week.”
Fenderbosch noted that many of the people who use the park are adults and seniors who walk on the paths there in the morning. However, the park has many other amenities that appeal to both children and adults.
Along with wooded paths that provide a view of the river, park amenities include playground equipment, softball fields and tennis courts.
“We have two softball teams that play there on a regular basis—the Napier Parkview Baptist Church and the Whirlpool teams,” Fenderbosch said. “Kids often play on the playground equipment while their parents are playing softball.”
The park also has three lighted tennis courts, but they are in need of some repair, and Fenderbosch would like to see them be resurfaced in the future.
“There are bad cracks in the base of the tennis courts, and we’d like to repair or replace them, but it is extremely expensive to do so,” Fenderbosch said. “We’re hoping that in the next five years we can put newer playground equipment in as well.”
Installing a disc golf course is another option that the township is considering as a part of their five-year parks plan, but officials are concerned that adding such an attraction might cause parking issues at the park.
Carronde Park has restroom facilities as well as a picnic pavilion, which can be reserved by calling the Township at (269) 429-7703.
“The picnic pavilion is used almost every weekend,” Fenderbosch said. “It’s very popular for birthday parties and things like that.”
Perhaps one of the most appealing aspects of Carronde Park is its long stretch of river frontage that includes a boat launch and two docks. Several long, open stretches along the shore provide excellent spots for casting and netting fish.
Furthermore, a number of good holes along the bend in the river there provide homes to all sorts of fish, making it a popular location for anglers. Catfish, sheephead, suckers and carp can all be hooked there, as can the much sought-after St. Joe steelhead and salmon, depending on the season.
Open from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m., no alcohol or unleashed pets are permitted in the park. In addition, the park is patrolled by the police department on a regular basis.
“It is absolutely safe,” Fenderbosch said. “It’s just a nice neighborhood park.”
As the township’s website says, “This relaxing setting on the St. Joseph River turns a simple picnic into an enjoyable day out of the house with kids.” More information about the park can be found at www.sjct.org/carronde.htm.