03-26-2020 Calendar; County to seek DNR grant for Paw Paw River County Park in Watervliet expansion

County to seek DNR grant for Paw Paw River County Park in Watervliet expansion development

By Annette Christie

The Berrien County Board of Commissioners at their Thursday, March 19 meeting gave their stamp of approval for a grant application to fund the development of the expansion portion of Paw Paw River County Park. The expansion of 63 additional acres was approved through the Department of Natural Resources Trust Fund grant process in 2019 and the purchase acquisition is expected to be finalized this year.

The 63-acre property is adjacent to the Paw Paw River County Park. The development of that property was included in the 2020-2024 Berrien County Parks and Recreation five-year plan. The improvements that could be funded by the grant would provide accessible public access to the land along the Paw Paw River water trail with a planned pedestrian bridge, development of barrier free hard surface trails, overlook decks with seating, and other possible recreational opportunities such as cross-country skiing, outdoor photography, turkey and deer hunting and fishing opportunities within Paw Paw River County Park. The estimated development project cost is $400,000.

If awarded, the Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund development grant will cover up to 75% of the proposed development costs. The grant would require a minimum of a 25% grant match, which would come from the 2021 or 2022 Berrien County Parks Commission budget or the Parks Endowment Fund. The grant application is due April 1, 2020.

The newly updated 5-year Parks and Recreation Plan for 2020-2024 includes other improvements to the park located in the City of Watervliet including adding a picnic pavilion near the canoe launch, expanded parking lot, vault restrooms, asphalt parking lot, and a playground.

The Berrien County Parks & Recreation System includes Galien River in New Buffalo; Silver Beach in St. Joseph; Rocky Gap in Benton Harbor; Love Creek in Berrien Center; Historic Courthouse Square in Berrien Springs; Madeline Bertrand in Niles; and Paw Paw River County Park in Watervliet.

Community Calendar

Now thru April 10 “TREE & SHRUB SEEDLING FUNDRAISER” held by Berrien Conservation District. Order on-line at www.berriencd.org; for more info call 269-471-9111 ext. 3. Orders due April 10; quantities limited. Wed, Apr. 1, 8am-1:45pm “BLOOD DRIVE” sponsored by Coloma HS, hosted by Salem Lutheran Church, 275 Marvin St., Coloma. Schedule an appointment: http://bit.ly/ColomaHS Sat, Apr. 25, “BENEFIT AUCTION” fundraiser at Grace Christian School, 325 N. M-140, Watervliet. Doors open at 3:30 p.m. for registration, Silent Auction bidding begins at 4:00 & Live Auction starts at 4:30. Food available for sale. Tue, Apr. 28, “COLOMA COUNTS, CENSUS DAY” at Coloma Public Library. Fill out census online and register for Cinco De Mayo Party. Tue, May 5, 6-7:30pm “CINCO De MAYO PARTY” Coloma Public Library for all ages; must pre-register. Fri, May 8, 4pm “OPEN HOUSE” Riverside Park and Kayak Launch, 3510 Coloma Rd., Coloma Sun, May 10, 5-7:30pm “MOTHER’S DAY DINNER” Coloma American Legion, 351 E. St. Joseph St. $11/advance; $12/door. Menu: garlic herb chicken, mashed potatoes w/gravy, gr. beans, salad, dessert & coffee. Tue, May 12, 6:30pm “FOCUS ON LIFE” Berrien County Rig