Paddle Antrim and the Village of Elk Rapids are pleased to announce that thanks to financial support received from public and private sources the fundraising goals to make planned improvements to Elk Rapids Rotary Park have been achieved.
“This week, we were thrilled and honored to receive a competitive Michigan Spark grant from the Department of Natural Resources,” said Karen Simpson, Village President. “This grant will leverage other grants and gifts, so we can move forward with our nonprofit partner, Paddle Antrim, to implement our community’s vision for Rotary Park and enhance non-motorized connectivity to the water.”
“We are pleased to collaborate with the Village of Elk Rapids on this exciting project which helps us to continue to achieve our mission of protecting our water resources by using paddle sports to connect individuals to our waterways,” said Deana Jerdee, Executive Director of Paddle Antrim. “Paddle Antrim is proud to host the Chain of Lakes Water Trail, the only state-designated water trail in Northern Michigan. Rotary Park is a key access site on the trail and this project is part of our nonprofit’s strategy to partner with local governments to make planned improvements that create high quality experiences and public access for people of all abilities.”
Paddle Antrim and the Village are grateful for the support received from state and local government, private foundations, and individual donors. Major funding was provided by the Michigan Spark Grant program, Michigan State Waterways Commission, Village of Elk Rapids, Rotary Charities of Traverse City, Jim and Diana Huckle Family Foundation, Elk Rapids Rotary Club, Oleson Foundation, Sue Haadsma-Svensson and Kjell Svensson, Elk Rapids Harbor Commission, Elk Rapids Downtown Development Authority, Grand Traverse Regional Community Foundation, Barton J Ingraham & Gail G Ingraham Foundation, The Harry A. and Margaret D. Towsley Foundation, BlueStone Futures, Gary and Mary Chenoweth, Matt and Deb Knudstrup, Christine Petersen, Karen Simpson and numerous other generous financial supporters.
Elk Rapids Rotary Park is a key trailhead on the Chain of Lakes Water Trail, an over 100-mile water trail stretching through 12 lakes and interconnected rivers in Antrim, Charlevoix, Grand Traverse and Kalkaska Counties. The Chain of Lakes Water Trail is one of nine state-designated water trails in Michigan and is a collaborative effort between twenty different governmental jurisdictions and non-profit organizations.
Planned improvements at Elk Rapids Rotary Park include:
• A non-motorized launch, providing the first universally accessible route on the Chain of Lakes Water Trail
• Improved parking and flow with designated loading/unloading zones, and trailer parking
• Fully plumbed restrooms with changing station
• Boat washing station to prevent the spread of invasive species
• Rain garden with native plants to control stormwater runoff
• Safe travel to the existing boat channel on Elk River
These improvements were identified as a priority for the Village in their 2018 Recreation Plan. In 2019, Paddle Antrim and the Village of Elk Rapids began working on a concept design which was finalized in 2021 after extensive public input.
The Village of Elk Rapids and Paddle Antrim are excited to move forward and will begin with project bidding and construction in 2023. The projected completion of the improvements will be in 2024.