By ERIN NOHA
CEDAR RIVER — Plans are moving forward to add electrical sites and a bathroom to Fox Park in Cedarville Township.
At a packed board meeting on Wednesday, supervisor Lin Peterson announced they would not be applying for a Department of Natural Resources grant for Fox Park, which is why a public hearing was scheduled — it was a requirement for the application process.
Still, the project will move forward, using funds the township gained by selling a portion of the land. Peterson said all 20 sites would have electricity, costing about $40,000 to $50,000. They will also replace picnic tables, an estimate of about $5,250. The board is working on the cost of the bathrooms.
“It’s not a fancy enough project,” Peterson said, mentioning that the DNR awarded more points to applicants who considered special projects like a sustainable rainwater garden and a water bottle-filling station.
She said Fox Park would not have a garbage dropoff or other extensive accommodations that some parks have, like water access or a dump station.
“By the time we went through and redlined everything, basically, we just wanted it simple,” Peterson said. “We just want the electrical at the campsites and the bathroom.”
At the meeting, she allowed community members to speak, mentioning that it wasn’t required as the township wasn’t pursuing the grant.
“Is there any way something could be agreed upon where the park could remain half rustic?” said Lou Ann Bates, a community member and owner of Raven Wood Gardens.
More community members commented.
“Everyone that I’ve spoken to says, ‘Keep it rustic,’” said John Slavick, a former board member. “I don’t know why you do not listen to any of that.”
Tony Williams said that the board changed plans from a few years ago.
“When I was on the board, the agreement was to keep the picnic area the same, add campsites in the middle and leave the rustic area down there,” he said, mentioning that he liked the idea of bathrooms.
“I think that’s a good thing, getting rid of the pit toilets,” Williams said. “I was involved in the thing at Kleinke Park … hat didn’t change the park a damn bit. They did a lot better. I did the septic. I did the dump station. I did everything down there — and everybody loves it down there.”
“Then they can go down there if they want a flushing toilet,” Slavick said.
“Here’s the problem. Wells Park and Kleinke are always full,” Williams said. “This would be really nice up here. It would be really nice.”
The county owns Kleinke Park and Shakey Lakes Park, while the state owns Wells Park and Cedarville Township owns Fox Park.
People can make reservations online for Fox Park through Menominee County Parks System’s website: menomineecountyparks.com.
In 2022, Fox Park had 588 reservations and made $27,370 in revenue, with $5,880 going to the county because of a $10 reservation fee, which covers credit card fees and costs of maintaining the website and its software costs, according to the county administrator Jason Carviou.
Since the 2023 online reservations opened on Monday (March 6), Fox Park has received 115 reservations and made $7,690 in revenue. The county will keep $1,150 for the reservation fee.
In 2021, the county paid approximately $18,000 to purchase a camping registration system.
Former board member Slavick opposed using the county website.
“If we were doing it ourselves, we could process the fee,” Slavick said. “I told you I could’ve developed the website. I could’ve done the software and done all that for you. Nope, you don’t want me to have anything to do with the park.”
Board member Kathy Prestin said they’d had no problems with the system run by the county.
“If anything, we’ve had nothing but compliments,” Prestin said. “It’s not costing us anything to do it. They are not charging us anything to do it. All they are doing is taking the fees that we would have to have paid anyway.”
Peterson said people wanted electrical hookups.
Even though the sites will have electricity, the state doesn’t consider the park modern.
“As far as the state is concerned, we are still considered a rustic campsite even if we put the electric in,” said Donna Buechler, a board member.
Buechler also said it bothered her when Slavick said the board doesn’t listen.
“You say we’re not listening to you, but maybe we’re listening to the people that don’t agree with you,” Buechler said. “I’m saying there are people that do agree with us.”