From Parks to Campgrounds, Part 2

A popular outdoor camping spot in Marquette County is improving itself.

UGN’s Lindesy Cramer takes us to Perkins Park in Big Bay to see what’s going on there, including efforts to make it more ADA-friendly.

Visitors there will have more to look forward to this season and next, because the park is moving on with its long-running efforts to make the area better.

The county came up with a master plan back in 1994 to make improvements to Perkins Park in 5 phases, 1 at a time.

It’s time for Phase 4.

The county will spend $78,000 on it, and the DNR Natural Resources Trust Fund is providing a grant for just under $200,000.

Park manager Kim Bourgeois says it’s a big deal to spend this money.

She says it should keep the area an up-to-date facility for a long time to come, which will bring much-needed revenue into the county.

Part of the work involves building an ADA-accessible path from the parking lot right down to the waterfront, so that anyone in a wheelchair can enjoy the water’s edge.

Bay Cliff Health Camp Director Tim Bennett applauds the work, because he says folks at Bay Cliff often use Perkins Park for different programs.

The project also adds ADA-accessible playground equipment, and an office building right near Perkins Park’s entrance.

That should help with not just easier access, but increased security.

There are even sewer system upgrades involved.

Those who work at and enjoy the park say investing in outdoor areas is key.

Perkins Park employee John Bourgeois says with hundreds of people using the campground every year, many of whom come from out of the area, it helps tourism in a region that depends heavily on the tourist trade.

Staff hope to have the new upgrades ready for the 2010 camping season.

They don’t want any construction to hamper this year’s camping season, so the work should start after Labor Day.

Tomorrow, Lindsey will take us to Van Cleve Park in Gladstone, where upgrades are being made that won’t cost the city anything.