City Votes to Move Forward with Mill Street Purchase

Amy Jo Kinyon

Editor

The property at 114 Mill Street in Eaton Rapids has new ownership.  The City of Eaton Rapids unanimously voted Monday night to purchase the property for $75,000 that housed a kayak school.  The school closed its doors at the end of last year and the city is hoping to provide a variety of recreational opportunities for residents.  City Manager Jon Stoppels said the city plans to offer rentals of kayaks, canoes, fishing equipment, and bicycles.  Stoppels said the site will be an attraction for community members and will capitalize on one of the city’s best features, the Grand River.

“It’s kind of the center of it all,” said Stoppels. “Our goal is to begin expanding the regular use of the river.”

The half-acre site will be open during the construction taking place this summer for the Return the Rapids project.  The project raised over $50,000 to help fund the removal of a dam located next to the Mill Street property.  The removal will allow for the development of a step-pool fish ramp. 

During the construction phase of the dam removal, set to begin this summer, Stoppel said the city will work to maintain a clear and easy path to the river from the site so residents can make full use of the resources.

Stoppel detailed that they do not have any solid revenue projections for the business but foresee rental fees providing most, if not all of the revenue.  The city will use current employees to staff the site with the possibility of hiring other part time staff if needed in the future. The Eaton Rapids Economic Development Corporation, a group of private investors, are the previous owners of the property.

Council member Mark McGee said the purchase will provide the community and its residents with new recreational options.

A soft opening is planned for May.

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