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Community Foundation Receives Grant

Posted on September 22, 2011

The Community Foundation of St. Clair County has received its first federal grant to support the restoration of the St. Clair River shoreline along Desmond Landing.

The $250,000 grant from the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service is the first federal support for the much anticipated restoration of almost one-mile of St. Clair River shoreline.  This particular grant will allow the Foundation to restore and naturalize up to 750 linear feet of shoreline in front of the YMCA building, immediately south of the old Ferry Dock structure.

Local attorney Douglas S. Touma is chair of the Foundation’s subsidiary company, Blue Water Land Fund, which will own and operate the River Walk and shoreline.  He says, “Prior to Jim Acheson’s ownership and involvement, that one-mile stretch of St. Clair River Shoreline had been an industrial wasteland for almost 100 years.”  He added that it took decades of neglect and abuse to strip the shoreline of most natural features, and it will take years of restoration efforts to repair it.

Along with the restoration and naturalization of the shoreline, the Foundation is also collaborating with St. Clair County and St. Clair County Parks and Recreation to find funding to build a section of the Bridge to Bay Trail along the shoreline to guarantee public access. 

Last year the Foundation hosted a series of public workshops, and also organized a bus tour of the Detroit Riverfront Conservancy to help build a vision for the River Walk project.  That input led to the Foundation’s plans for the property, and includes; public access in perpetuity, better access for fishing and recreation, a pedestrian trail or path, and a more naturalized or “living shoreline” with as little shoreline hardening as possible.

“We realize we have been entrusted with a piece of Jim Acheson’s legacy,” said Touma, “and our goal is to make sure that future generations get to enjoy this gift and enjoy access to our valuable riverfront property.”

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