House approves grant to make Dodd Park accessible

Published 12:19 pm Friday, March 11, 2016

The Michigan House today approved a state grant to make the Dodd Park Water Trail in Cass County more accessible.

State Rep. Aaron Miller said the Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund (MNRTF) grant is included in House Bill 5377 to install new barrier-free fixtures at the trail. The $277,500 project development grant is one of 44 such recommendations made by the MNRTF board of trustees for projects in 30 counties. The board also recommended 26 recreational land acquisition grants across the state.

Rep. Miller, R-Sturgis, said the development will make the park on the Dowagiac River more accessible for people with physical challenges.

The funding will be used to install new barrier-free restrooms and a campground complete with two cabins, picnic grills and fire rings, along with accessible pathways. The development on the largest cold-water river system in Southwest Michigan also includes a Universal Design compliant kayak/canoe launch, a bridge and a parking expansion.

“This is restricted funding that comes from interest on publicly owned minerals, such as oil and natural gas, and is constitutionally mandated for recreational projects such as this,” Rep. Miller said. “I think it’s fantastic that we are using this fund to make our parks more accessible for people who have difficulty taking part in our wonderful natural resources.”

The measure now goes to the Senate for consideration.