Marina continues under city supervision

By JAMES MITCHELL
Sunday Times Newspapers

TRENTON – The city will continue its management of the Elizabeth Park Marina, an agreement entering its third year that has proven beneficial in many ways.

Parks and Recreation Director Joann Gonyea said the contract has been, “a win-win situation for both agencies, and good for the community as a whole.” City Council Monday approved to continue its management of the facility, now entering its third year under Trenton supervision.

In October 2011 the city first approved taking over management of the marina, property for which had been donated to Wayne County Parks nearly a century ago. The county parks commission was facing budget limitations and union contracts which mandated that the facility be staffed full-time. The financial strain threatened to limit if not close the boat launch that Gonyea said stands as a key attraction of Elizabeth Park.

“Obviously a lot of the boaters know it’s there,” Gonyea said. “But we’ve been getting more information out to the transient boaters who aren’t from this area.”

The marina offers space to boaters on the Detroit River including four launching and four loading wells and a 52-slip mooring facility. Recreational opportunities at the marina include a full calendar of activities, events and fishing tournaments including the Cabela’s Master Walleye competition.

Gonyea said the marina has not only continued but flourished under city management, created part-time jobs for nearby residents and opened opportunities that hadn’t been fully explored under county supervision.

“We’ve been able to make some improvements to the operation,” Gonyea said. “Because we’re able to have a little more flexibility with the assets we’ve been able to manage it more efficiently and still provide a quality facility.”

Parks and Recreation officials had expected that, properly managed, the marina could produce a modest profit for the city, which in turn could be invested back into the city’s recreational offerings. The marina generates between $125,000 and $140,000 annually. Gonyea said 2014 might bring a fee adjustment – rates haven’t changed for years – and with Monday’s approval the marina is ready for another season.

“We’re looking forward to the tournaments and welcoming all boaters of southeast Michigan,” Gonyea said. “It’s really been a win-win three ways around.”

Seasonal permits for the marina are available through Trenton Parks and Recreation at 734-675-8051. The marina opened April 1 and will operate through Oct. 31.

(James Mitchell can be reached at jmitchell@bewickpublications.com.)

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