Vacant space at community center sought for livery
During the public comment portion of the Tecumseh City Council meeting on Monday, May 6, resident and attorney Charles Gross suggested that the council members authorize the city manager to lease space in the Tecumseh Community Center to Mark Johnson, who had expressed interest, for a boat livery business. Gross, who said he was not there as a legal representative nor was he paid to be there, reminded the council members of the clearing of a water loop he was involved with for canoeing and kayaking that opened up between Standish Dam and the River Raisin last summer. It’s called the River Raisin Run. Gross and his family also played a large role in the city’s obtaining Indian Crossing Trails property for a park several years ago.
“We have something rather unique here in Tecumseh where you can put a boat in at the community center and loop back. I don’t know of anyplace else that’s really got that and it’s a pretty nice run and takes about an hour,” he said.
Gross said the project started to build some momentum with Johnson’s interest and could create a recreational opportunity and attract visitors who were looking for outdoor recreation.
“A lot of people like to kayak, and Tecumseh could compete with other communities and provide some of these amenities that nobody else has, which includes our ability to release water with the dam,” he said. “The only snag is we need people to generate publicity to make it happen.” He said that responsibility wouldn’t necessarily have to fall on the city, nor should it.
Gross said city officials did a great job of helping with the river clean-up for the looped trail, but when Mark Johnson, a river guide who operates Songer Whitewater Rafting in West Virginia, became interested in opening a livery and leasing space in the Community Center to operate out of, concerns surfaced regarding how Red Mill Pond residents might view the arrangement.
“I have property on Red Mill Pond and I think it would be great to see more people enjoy that resource,” Gross said. He added that there is an inviting rustic stretch of river from Tecumseh to Sutton Road that would be appealing to canoeists and kayakers if it could be cleaned up so canoes could travel through without impediment. Gross said Johnson had expressed interest in operating the recreational facility as a vocation and seemed interested in the clean-up as well.
“I was impressed upon meeting the guy, and he had experience and seemed trustworthy and responsible,” said Gross. “My suggestion is that you authorize the city manager to lease space at the community center to this young man so he can get this going.”
Gross said he was not being critical of the city because there has been tremendous support in opening up the water trail from Welch and city department heads.
“I think this would be a terrific location for him [Johnson],” he said. “I understand the sensitivity regarding the people on Red Mill Pond, but it would be great to see more people enjoy this resource.” Gross said the venture could be a win-win situation in much the way that Tecumseh Sky Dive attracts visitors to the community, who come for recreation and then see what else is available.
Mayor Richard Johnson thanked Gross for his comments; however, no response was given, which is not unusual following public comment at a council meeting.