A couple of Port Huron Township parks are slated to get upgrades later this year — a brand-new dock at one and a lengthy walkable pathway at another — with a boost in federal funds handled by the county.
The township board signed off Monday on subrecipient grant agreements to utilize some of St. Clair County’s share of American Rescue Plan Act dollars to help finance a walking path around Bakers Field Park and the dock at Thompson Pond.
“The township residents don’t have a lot of sidewalks out here to go and do any length of walking without walking in the street,” Port Huron Township Bob Lewandowski said Thursday. “So, if you give them this pathway, (it) is going to be approximately a mile, almost a mile long, and it’ll give people a chance to get out in nature and enjoy what that park has to offer.”
Township Clerk Benita Davis said $300,000 in ARPA funds will help with a $436,600 pathway at Bakers Field, while $150,000 will help the $201,200 dock, with the township making up the respective $146,600 and $51,200 matches.
Both items still must go before the county’s board of commissioners.
When asked about construction, Lewandowski said, “We put a start date of approximately July 1, I think it was, and they would be done in a year.”
Local governments have until the end of this year to designate ARPA funds and 2026 to utilize them.
Each of the seven districts represented on the county board received a second allocation of $1 million last year — the previous allocation was $500,000 — from the county’s wider $31 million share of COVID stimulus funds.
Port Huron Township is contained within District 4 along with all of the city of Marysville and part of Kimball Township.
Duke Dunn, a former county commissioner and current Marysville councilman, put most of the district’s original half-million allocation toward a new amphitheater at the city park prior to current District 4 Commissioner Joi Torello taking office over a year ago.
But because the pathway had been identified previously in ARPA discussions under Dunn, Torello said it made sense to put existing engineering to work. As of this month, she was slated to put some of her allocated funds toward purchasing kitchen equipment at Mid City Nutrition, referring to her support of projects as those she’d like to see move forward and that’d be “great for the community.”
Lewandowski said they’ve sought other funding for the Bakers Field pathway unsuccessfully through the state, as well. And with the additional district allocations, he said it was a good opportunity to also meet the need for the dock at Thompson Pond, located at the end of 40th Street off Lapeer Road.
The township supervisor didn’t refer to a wish list of other future park needs, though when asked about Bakers Field, he added, “There’s been talk of disc golf possibly down there, and then, maybe more pickleball courts.”
Contact Jackie Smith at (810) 989-6270 or email@example.com.