County will accept private funds for new park boathouse

June 4, 2010
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Kent County commissioners will officially accept an $800,000 grant on Thursday from the Kent County Parks Foundation. The money will go toward the construction of a new boathouse and boating center in the county-owned Millennium Park, a 1,400-acre public park on the county’s west side.

The money coming from the parks foundation is actually the result of a gift made in March by the Dick and Betsy DeVos Family Foundation, the Daniel and Pamella DeVos Foundation, the Douglas and Maria DeVos Foundation and the VanderWeide Family Foundation.

“It’s a real milestone for Millennium Park,” said Commissioner Roger Morgan.

The facility will be built just south of the swimming beach and will offer paddle boats, kayaks and rowboats for rent.

“This is a very nice boathouse that will be available to everyone in the park,” said Peter Secchia in March when he told commissioners of the gift.

County Parks Director Roger Sabine said the boathouse will sustain itself financially through rental charges and won’t be a burden on the county’s budget.

Construction is expected to begin late this summer and be completed in time for operations to begin next spring. Cornerstone Architects and O’Boyle, Cowell, Blalock & Associates designed the facility.

About $35 million has been invested in Millennium Park so far, with the county putting $15.5 million into the park. Assistant County Administrator Mary Swanson said the boathouse grant means the private sector has matched the county’s investment. The state has contributed $5 million in grants to the park’s development.

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