Pavlov, full Senate approve three Natural Resources Trust Fund projects in St. Clair County

LANSING—The Michigan Senate on Thursday approved legislation allocating $24.7 million from the Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund (NRTF) to natural resources improvement projects across the state.

The trust fund is supported by interest earned on funds generated from the development of state-owned mineral rights.

“This funding supports three key projects in St. Clair County that will improve the quality of life for residents and those visiting the area,” said Pavlov, R-St. Clair Township. “These include the redevelopment of Lakeside Park in Port Huron, the Bouvier Bay waterfront acquisition, and the purchase of land on the St. Clair River to help complete Phase 2 of the Blue Water River Walk expansion.”

House Bill 4078 authorizes the trust fund to spend $24.7 million to support 25 acquisition projects and 44 development projects. Matching funds of $9.8 million bring the total investment to more than $34.5 million.

HB 4078 specifically provides $295,900 toward the redevelopment of Lakeside Park in Port Huron. The proposed project will provide universal design and an ADA-accessible beach, concession access, comfort station, splash pad, beachside walkway, pathway accessibility and ADA and universal access compliance.

Two other St. Clair County projects also funded by the measure include:

•    $666,000 toward the Bouvier Bay waterfront acquisition. The approximately 9.15 acres of vacant land on Bouvier Bay at Beaubien Creek off of M-29 will provide universal access to the riverfront for swimming, fishing, paddling and birding, and a rest stop for bicyclists and sightseers.

•    $118,400 toward Phase 2 of the Blue Water River Walk expansion. The money will be used to purchase approximately 2.1 acres of vacant land on the St. Clair River. The fully accessible recreation facilities that will be developed on the parcel will include a children’s playground, small picnic shelter, bike racks, interpretive and information panels, picnic tables and native trees and shrubs.

The NRTF uses constitutionally restricted funds to provide financial assistance to local governments and the Department of Natural Resources to purchase land or rights in land for public recreation or protection of land because of its environmental importance or its scenic beauty. It also assists in the appropriate development of land for public outdoor recreation.

HB 4078 now heads to Gov. Rick Snyder, who is expected to sign the measure.