explore the shores

Village of Elberta Awarded $220,000 Grant for Penfold Park Upgrades

Village of Elberta, Mich. – The Village of Elberta has been awarded $220,000 from the Michigan Department of Natural Resources to make significant upgrades to Penfold Park. The grant will fund development of a universally accessible restroom building, canoe/kayak launch, ADA parking, paved pathways and other amenities at the park, which not only serves as the home of the weekly Elberta Farmers Market, but provides access to water trails and serves as a trailhead for the Betsie Valley Trail and a bus stop for the Benize Bus.

“Elberta’s Penfold Park is used by hundreds of people every week. The addition of restrooms and a universally accessible canoe and kayak launch will be a great asset to our residents and visitors,” said Elberta Village Council President Holly O’Dwyer. “Being able to replace porta-potties with a permanent restroom will enhance the park experience for vendors and visitors to our farmers market. The canoe and kayak launch will enable those with disabilities to enjoy the waters of the Betsie River, Betsie Lake and Lake Michigan.”

Funding for the project will be provided by the Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund, contributions from Elberta Parks and Recreation Commission, as well as grants from the USDA and Rotary Charities. The site will become part of the Alliance for Economic Success’ Explore the Shores (ETS) program, which provides universal access to natural resources for people of all ages, needs, and abilities and has recently expanded into Benzie County.

“We are very grateful to everyone who has worked so diligently to make this happen, including the grantors as well as the Alliance for Economic Success and the Explore the Shores organization. We are excited and anxious to see this dream become a reality,” O’Dwyer said.

Since its inception, AES has helped communities secure over $9 million for Manistee County in grants and charitable contributions from 24 sources to create access to Lake Michigan, fishing piers, fish cleaning stations, anglers paths, children’s play areas, fishing platforms, scenic overlooks and others. Explore the Shores is primarily a Manistee County program but is reaching into Benzie and Wexford Counties to create even greater universal access opportunities regionally. Contact Lisa Leedy, Executive Director for Alliance for Economic Success at 231-723-4325.