Keweenaw County considers grant for Gratiot Park 

EAGLE RIVER — The Keweenaw County Board passed a resolution to pursue a Passport Grant from the Michigan Department of Natural Resources for the Gratiot River County Park.

The resolution was introduced by board member Sandra Gayk.

“My constituents came to me and started talking about some of the things that the county could do in addition to trying to settle things with the Keweenaw Mountain Lodge,” said Gayk. The Gratiot Park is what was concluded to work on.

“The problem is the Gratiot River Park has no facilities there, and everybody under the sun knows about this park, and they come to it,” Gayk. “It is like the most widely-used park, and there’s no facilities, and it’s turning into a shameful place with toilet paper and human trash all over.”

With that in mind, Gayk said she will pursue the DNR Passport Grant, at no cost to the county. The grant proposal, she said, will be for a cast concrete, double-sided outhouse, which includes a septic tank beneath it to allow it to be pumped. It is made in Wisconsin and must be trucked to the county. The cost of the unit will amount to just $50,000, she said, because it is indestructible.

In addition to the outhouse, she said the people she talked with also discussed the possibility of “a few tastefully scattered picnic tables and benches,”

She will not find out if the grant proposal will be accepted until the end of this year, Gayk said.

“This project would be implemented in 2019,” she told the board, “and in the meantime, we’re going to put together a citizens’ advisory group that is going to oversee things and talk about what goes where and how we work this whole thing out.”

Board Chairman Don Piche said an indestructible outhouse would be needed at that park.

“We put outhouses down there, what was it, three years ago?” Piche said, “and the people destroyed them. The owners of them said they won’t even bring them out there anymore.”

Gayk said she talked with picnic table manufacturers, one of whom recommended tables made of recycled plastic, because they, like the concrete outhouse, are indestructible. Piche agreed, saying something like that would be needed there.

Gayk said she is also looking into getting CCTV security cameras installed at the park, but in the meantime, making the park a success will just require people monitoring the area.

“I think if we get the community involved with this place, I think it’s going to look a lot better, I really do,” she said. “I think there’s things the county can do.”