Board applies for grant for canoe, kayak launch

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LANSING – The Lansing Parks and Recreation board recently applied for a recreation passport grant to build a canoe, kayak launch at Cherry Hill Park on the west side of the Grand River.

 The board hopes to receive the grant from the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) by fall of 2013, said Lansing Parks and Recreation Director Brett Kaschinske. The recreation passport grant uses the money to provide better public outdoor recreation opportunities for their community, according to the DNR’s website. However, the board would have to wait until spring of 2014 when construction would begin building the launch.

Cherry Hill Boat Launch where canoe, kayak launch would be built.

Cherry Hill Boat Launch where canoe, kayak launch would be built.

The project is estimated at $60,000. The grant would provide about 75 percent and the remaining 25 percent would come from the city.

The canoe, kayak launch would be built next to the Cherry Hill boat launch, according to Kaschinske. The Grand Fish is a private company located across from the launch, which rents canoes and kayaks for visitors who come to the park for leisure and activities.

There is an increase in requests from residents for canoe and kayaking opportunities, and the launch would also be accessible for individuals with disabilities, Kaschinske said.

“This is a good fit as to where we’re going in the future,” Kaschinske said. “You don’t have to worry about getting stuck in shallow waters. What we plan to build is more accessible where you could take your kayak on rollers on the dock, get in and use the handrails to ease yourself into the river.”

Lansing couple and owners Ken and Giselle Settimo began the business almost four seasons ago, which Ken said usually begins mid-May and extends until October. If the grant is permitted, Settimo said they would take full advantage of its use when renting canoes and kayaks to visitors.

The Grand Fish adjacent to the boat launch.

The Grand Fish adjacent to the boat launch.

“My wife and I enjoy being out on the water,” Settimo said. “It’s a great time to see people’s reactions when they don’t realize at first that we have this great river that goes throughout the city.”

The Grand Fish rents three person canoes for $20 per hour for the first hour and for $10 every hour after the first, Settimo said. Visitors can rent kayaks for $10 per hour.

“We would actually love to see them get this grant,” Settimo said. “We embrace that whether people are using our facility or bringing their own kayaks, the grant goes through and they do more development across the river.”

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The launch is not the only improvement the city is considering for the riverfront. The board also announced it is applying for a land acquisition grant from the DNR to buy a property on 830 River St.  to improve the river trail bridge along the Grand River.  The property is about 300 yards from Cherry Hill Park where the canoe, kayak launch is expected to be.

“Opportunities happen whey they’re supposed to happen not just when you’re ready for them,” said Rick Kibbey, parks and recreation president on applying for the grants.

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