Mich-e-ke-wis not right for RV park

It’s back!

Talk of a recreational vehicle park at Mich-e-ke-wis Park has surfaced again, with City of Alpena officials planning to hold a special council meeting on the subject Jan. 25 at the APlex.

Talk of a RV park along Thunder Bay is like greasy food — it keeps coming up in discussion every so many years. Of course it doesn’t help that residents traveling to points south on US-23 pass a very successful, thriving and very professional looking park along the bay in East Tawas. Seeing that facility only flames the debate.

City Manager Greg Sundin told reporter Steve Schulwitz in a story this week that this month’s meeting is nothing more than city officials following through in gathering information regarding something that is found in the city’s master plan.

“It is a project that is in the plan and staff is doing its due diligence with it,” Sundin said. “We want to look at it in a preliminary manner to see if it fits in with other things we want to do and if it is something council even wants to consider.”

I would hope they don’t. Interestingly, while most projects have their supporters, naysayers and a large group in the middle who ride the fence, not so with past discussions about the RV park.

When it comes to it, there is very little middle ground — most residents are passionate one way or the other regarding its potential.

As a person who lived in a recreational vehicle every summer for four years while I was in college, and who worked in a RV park to help pay for my education, I believe I have as good of an understanding as anyone about the pros and cons that such a facility brings with it.

For those who argue that it would provide an economic boost, I would agree. I believe because of the location, it would be filled every weekend of the summer and most every weekday as well. Honestly, I believe the economic advantages from such a facility would be numerous.

That being said, my personal position always has, and probably always will be, against such a facility. While I am willing to hear the latest discussion before rushing to final judgment, for me this is a matter of keeping public space public, and available to all.

I certainly agree with Sundin when, in the story this week, he said Mich-e-ke-wis is not being utilized to the full extent that it could be. I would contend, however, that with all the excitement that is going to be generated by the Rotary Splash Park at Starlite — located very close to Mich-e-ke-wis — the opportunity exists for spillover into Mich-e-ke-wis with the right new outdoor recreational equipment the city could purchase and install there.

As our society continues on a healthy lifestyle and outdoor experience-based recreation, I believe Mich-e-ke-wis could really benefit from a well thought out outdoor recreational development plan.

I am a firm believer in keeping as much open space along the water in the city limits public as we can. I have supported past efforts of the city administration of even purchasing available waterfront property, with the sole intention of razing structures to open up the view and provide access for the public.

Right now the public still has a chance to voice their opinion, and I would encourage everyone to do so. Learn about the area, listen to city officials, ask questions and then advocate your position — one way or the other.

Such is the beauty of local government.

As for me, I will pull out and swallow another antacid. It’s time again for a new round of RV park discussions.

Bill Speer can be reached via email at bspeer@thealpenanews.com or by phone at 354-3111 ext. 331. Follow Bill on Twitter @billspeer13.