Michigan's Gov. Whitmer announces funding for two Berrien County parks

LANSING, Mich. – Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer announced on Wednesday that the City of Bridgman, along with 14 other communities, will receive a total of $1,977,300 in funding to build and upgrade outdoor recreation areas.

Bridgman will get $150,000, the highest amount awarded to a single community, for a restroom renovation at Weko Beach's east campground.

Weko currently has 68 campsites and seven cabins.

The nearly $2 million in grant funding for these projects is coming from a portion of the state's Recreation Passport profits.

Recreation Passports can be purchased for vehicles and gives them year-round access to more than 100 state parks and recreation areas, more than 1,000 state-managed boating access sites, 140-plus state forest campgrounds, and parking areas at thousands of miles of trails.

“When we invest in our state parks and public lands, we all benefit,” said Whitmer. “The Recreation Passport helps us improve parks, trails, playgrounds, campgrounds, and so much more across Michigan, improving quality of life and growing our economy. I am proud that we made the largest investments ever into our state and local parks over the last few years. Let’s keep investing in Pure Michigan.”  

According to the governor's office, the Recreation Passport grants use just 10 percent of the Recreation Passport revenues, with the remaining funds supporting operations, infrastructure and historic and cultural assets in the state parks and recreation system. 

With the announcement of this year’s recipients, the Recreation Passport grant program, which was established by Public Act 35 of 2010, has awarded a total of just over $18.5 million statewide.

Wednesday's announcement comes just a day after the governor announced a total of $6,461,500 in Land and Water Conservation grants to be handed out across eight community parks, trails, and sports facilities.

One of the sports facilities to receive funding is Berrien County's Dickinson Park in Saint Joseph. The county will get $260,000 and plans to use the funds to add new bathrooms and parking spots.

The park currently has one baseball and one softball diamond, but, according to Michigan Public Works, the hope is to eventually add a playground.

"By investing in Pure Michigan, we support local economies, our fast-growing outdoor recreation industry, and improve quality of life for Michiganders," Whitmer said. "Today’s upgrades will increase access to rivers and nature parks, create outdoor courts and fields, and renovate parks that people of all abilities can use and enjoy every day. Let’s keep working together to make Michigan a better state to live, work, and play.”

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