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Sturgeon Point Lighthouse selected for Tourism Project

ALPENA – Each year the Michigan Cares for Tourism Project selected a project in the state that is in need of a spruce up and/or renovations. This year, however, the group of volunteers has selected two, including a tourist hot spot in Northeast Michigan.

On Monday about 150 tourism experts from around the state will come together for a revitalization project at the Sturgeon Point Lighthouse in Harrisville. The project was selected out of hundreds that were submitted to the Michigan Department of Natural Resources and the improvements to be made will be welcome. The projects selected must meet historical, cultural and touristic criteria, which the lighthouse did.

Alpena Convention and Visitors Bureau President Mary Beth Stutzman said the entire project consists of volunteers and donations from sponsors. She said the lighthouse is a popular destination visiting the region and keeping the property as appealing as possible is important.

“It is in need of a little love and the volunteers will do painting, concrete work, landscaping, masonry. They do a little bit of everything,” Stutzman said. “Whatever the site needs, they are able to help help with.”

The volunteers will come from all over the state and most are business owners who operate in tourist communities, while others are from other visitors bureaus. Stutzman said tour buses will be used to pick up the volunteers around the state and transport them to Alpena and Harrisville. She said special events are scheduled for the visitors who are normally playing host at home, but will be tourists while in the area.

“They get to be a visitor and be catered to and have someone show them a fun and enjoyable experience,” Stutzman said. “We’re excited to be able to welcome them to Northeast Michigan and share with them some of the amazing attractions we have with them.”

Each volunteer will have a choice of whether to go on a fossil hunting excursion at the Rockport State Recreation Area or to go trout fishing at the Cedarbrook Trout Farm in Harrisville. The group then will gather in Alpena for a Taste of Alpena dinner reception at the Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary, where they will be able to go out on the glass-bottom boat tour to view the shipwrecks in Thunder Bay.

Stutzman said because the project relies heavily on cash and product donations, it is made possible only from the generosity of those who want to make Michigan a better place.

“A lot of local restaurants and food establishments have come together to donate their services or supplies to bring costs down,” Stutzman said. “This is a zero-based budget. Everything is done with sponsorship dollars. There is no ongoing revenue stream. What they get from sponsors goes right back into refurbishing these tourism assets. The local communities have really come through so the volunteers will be able to do what they are.”

Steve Schulwitz can be reached via email at sschulwitz@thealpenanews.com or by phone at 358-5689. Follow Steve on Twitter ss_alpenanews. Read his blog, Upon Further Review … at www.thealpenanews.com.