AuSable River Canoe Launch is now open for use by area residents and visitors
The Grayling City Parks and Recreation Committee held a ribbon cutting ceremony on Tuesday, May 21, for the new public AuSable River Canoe Launch.
A public canoe launch was originally brought up by a past Parks and Recreation Committee member, Jeff Kolka.
“Why doesn’t Grayling have public access to the AuSable River?” he asked.
The Parks and Recreation Committee started discussing ways to provide public access to residents and visitors to the AuSable River in Grayling and added it to the Parks and Recreation Master Plan.
It wasn’t all smooth paddling though; after the Parks and Recreation Committee had a survey completed and the go-ahead for the public canoe launch, the funding for the project was unavailable.
A few years later, former Gov. Rick Snyder initiated a program called Project Rising Tide, which is designed to help assist at-risk communities build a successful economic structure. The city was accepted into the Project Rising Tide program in 2016. At that time Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) awarded the City a $328,372 grant for a Community Project.
The city reviewed two projects, in which the Canoe Launch Planning was further along and would be completed in the time needed to receive the MEDC grant which required a City of Grayling match.
The city was also working on a capital improvement project to repave the parking lot, curbing, repairing storm drains and fencing at the Michigan State Forensic Laboratory, which is leased from the city.
MEDC agreed that the city’s cost of the parking lot was acceptable for the match to the MEDC grant. Total cost for the combined projects was $472,512.
Since the location for the Canoe Launch Project is alongside the Michigan State Forensic Laboratory the Canoe Launch and the parking lot were partnered together to create one large project.
The Canoe Launch is now open to the public.