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Eaton County officials hope Crandell Park upgrades encourage more residents outdoors

A sign welcomes visitors to Crandell Park in Eaton County.
Eaton County

Officials in Eaton County are hoping upgrades in Crandell Park will make the park more accessible to visitors, along with encouraging residents to spend more time outdoors.

Crandell Park is the county’s newest recreation area and is fairly undeveloped.

County officials are working on building a two and a half mile walking path to make the park more accessible to visitors. The path is expected to cost nearly $200,000 and is partly funded by the Charlotte Rotary Club.

With residents' frequent use of the lake, which happens to be the largest in the county, a kayak launch was added earlier this year.

Eaton County Board of Commissioners Chair Jeremy Whittum said it’s important for people to spend time outdoors after the isolation caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

“It’s the opportunity to go to the park and to meet people you haven’t met,” Whittum said.

Beyond its use for recreation, researchers are also utilizing Crandell Park's lake.

Xiaobo Tan, electrical and computer engineering professor with the Michigan State University College of Engineering, said his research team has used the lake to test their robotic fish.

“The park, especially with its water space, was great,” Tan said. “But I think it could benefit from adding more amenities or fun activities for families.”

The next step of improvements is dependent on the passage of an Eaton County Parks millage that voters will see on the ballot this fall.

“If the parks millage is not passed, then we will not have the revenue to do it,” Whittum said. “Eaton County is subject to inflationary pressure.”

Whittum is hopeful that with more funding, the park can install a beach and campsites.

Other upgrades like pavilions and baseball diamonds are also being planned.

Genevieve's story is brought to you as part of a partnership between WKAR and Michigan State University's Knight Center for Environmental Journalism.

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