South Haven gets funds to create path and floating launch

South Haven’s plan to install a paved pathway and a floating launch with handrails and rollers to assist boaters with physical limitations has gotten a thumbs up from the Department of Environmental Quality of the Great Lakes.

The office says it has approved a $50,000 grant for the city, which also plans to add an accessible boat drop-off area and designated access parking space.

This site is a key access point for both the Lake Michigan Water Trail and the Bangor to South Haven Heritage Water Trail. 

And the city plans to leverage its trail system as a focal point in a tourism-centric economic development and downtown revitalization effort.

The city’s application to the program sought funding for accessibility improvements to the paddle craft launch site at Black River Park which will enhance the public access and use of the river.

The city says the total project cost is estimated at $100,000 – $50,000 of which would be funded through the Great Lakes water trails development program and another $50,000 funded through a local match.

Before the project proceeds, NOAA will conduct a review of the State Historic Preservation Office and the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) to ensure there are no likely impacts to historical and endangered or threatened species. 

The grant to South Haven is part of nearly $185,000 in funds to coastal communities and organizations to create and improve water trails in the Great Lakes.

These grants fund the second phase of Great Lakes water trails development program, which focuses on increasing accessibility, promoting trails, linking local and regional recreation trail systems, and educating trail visitors about proper use.

The initial phase of the grant program provided $342,141 in federal grants to comprehensively plan for local, regional or statewide coastal water trails along the Great Lakes shoreline.

South Haven Mayor Bob Burr says the recommendation for funding of accessibility improvements at Black River Park “will reinforce the City’s efforts of accessibility in improvement projects. People of all abilities will be able to access the paddle craft launch site due to the universally-accessible elements the project incorporates.”

Source: City of South Haven and Michigan DEQ