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Investment planned for Ocqueoc park

Courtesy Photo The Bewabic State Park pavilion seen in this photo is being used as a model for what a proposed pavilion at the Ocqueoc Outdoor Center could look like. The Presque Isle County Board of Commissioners support the project and are seeking cost estimates for it.

OCQUEOC — The Friends of the Ocqueoc Outdoor Center and Presque Isle County have teamed up to find ways to boost the park’s usage during non-summer months and add another educational aspect to the park.

The proposed plan includes building a new pavilion and adding educational markers sharing historic facts about the 18-acre park.

In April, the park earned a spot on the National Registry of Historic Places.

The project is still in the planning stage, but officials have explored possible funding resources and the county board gave Commissioner John Chappa the green light to contact an architect or engineer to get an estimate on the cost for the project.

Mary Ann Heidemann, the treasurer for the Friends group, said the Outdoor Center and county have two goals toward improving people’s experience at the park: increase usage during non-peak times of the year and provide historical facts about the property.

Currently, the park is used as a youth and adult outdoor education center with camping and is popular for weddings and family reunion gatherings, she said. During the spring and fall months, however, the park often sits unused.

“We think this would stimulate use during the shoulder months,” Heidemann said. “It’s gorgeous out there in the fall, but, when you go out there, there isn’t anybody there. It’s a public park that can be used by the public.”

Heidemann said that, although design plans aren’t finalized, the idea is to build a pavilion that resembled the one at Bewabic State Park in Iron County.

“It would have a roof to protect people from the rain, but still have the four sides open, so people can still have a great view of the lake,” she said.

If the pavilion is built, it will also offer people another place to rent for private events. Heidemann said other pavilions in and near Rogers City often book up fast, and that leaves few available dates for people looking for event space. She said a pavilion at the park would be rented out for private parties, but also available to use for free when it isn’t reserved.

The rental fee hasn’t been established yet, and won’t be until the structure is built, she said.

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