A $10,000 donation from ITC Transmission to the Macomb County Economic and Planning Department will be spent beautifying the Clinton River in Utica and Sterling Heights in order to attract more kayakers.
Kayakers currently have the option to paddle 8-miles on the Clinton River from Yates Cider Mill in Rochester, through Shelby Township and Utica and down to North Clinton River Park in Sterling Heights.
Since Macomb County recently launched the Blue Economy initiative, which is dedicated to advancing the public’s access of Lake St. Clair and the Clinton River, the county has been working on connecting an additional 11-12 miles of the Clinton River from Sterling Heights to Clinton Township for kayakers. However, debris covering clear access for kayers has stood in the way.
“It is our hope that the remaining areas from Clinton River Park in Sterling Heights to Budd Park in Clinton Township will be worked on for woody debris management and infrastructure design,” said Macomb County in a news release.
The $10,000 donation was split in half between Utica and Sterling Heights.
Sterling Heights said it will use the money to purchase equipment such as chainsaws that will help clear the woody debris along the river. Sterling Heights will also create a low-impact launch at North Clinton River Park (located off of Riverland Drive just east of Van Dyke).
“The Blue Economy Initiative has created a unique opportunity for the city of Sterling Heights to collaborate with Macomb County, the private sector and adjacent communities to expand the local economy and enhance our community quality of life by creating more recreational opportunities around the Clinton River," said Sterling Heights Mayor Richard Notte.
Utica will use its portion of the $5,000 to also build a low-impact launch across from their new downtown riverwalk (between Auburn and Hall roads). The city will also construct a small parking lot adjacent to the landing and install three informational sign posts that will indicate the city’s historic shops and eateries, the canoe/kayak landing area and parking lot. Several hitching posts will be located near the landing as well, which will allow paddlers to secure their kayaks or canoes while they visit a shop, restaurant or bar downtown.
“River enthusiasts can enter or leave the Clinton River easily for a refreshment break, dining, boutique shopping or plain rest stop at our historic Main Street. We welcome this new amenity as a major economic driver for our businesses and sincerely applaud its creation,” said Utica Mayor Jacqueline Noonan.
This year, the Shelby Township Fire Department donated mile-marker signs to Shelby and Utica to post along the Clinton River to help kayakers better understand how far they've traveled.