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Cass County reveals new improvements to Arthur Dodd Memorial Park

WSBT 22

Some new additions at a local park in hopes of getting your attention.

Leaders celebrated major improvements at Arthur Dodd Memorial Park in Cass County Thursday.

County leaders say this was already a popular park.

People used to park along the side of the road to hang out, so county leaders expanded the parking lot and added a number of attractive features like this bridge.

They're hoping to attract even more people and make some money to boot.

"He was interested for a long time at having a park at this location and saw some of that happening before he passed away and I think if he could see what's here now he would be thrilled,” said Marta Dodd, Arthur’s granddaughter.

Dodd says her grandpa was a lifelong Cass County resident, who loved visiting with family.

"He would really like families coming here, having picnics, playing on the playground equipment. I think he would love that people come here and canoe and kayak and particularly for him that they go fishing because he liked to fish,” said Dodd.

Fishermen, along with canoers and kayakers, were a big inspiration for the improvement project.

"There's not a lot of places to canoe in Cass county especially,” said Cass County Parks and Recreation Director, Scott Wyman.

But this river used to be a straight channel -- not very fun for boating. County leaders reconstructed the Dowagiac's original path before the channel was dredged.

"Without that meandering, without reconnecting the river to its original flow we wouldn't be doing these improvements,” said Wyman.

Improvements like new bridges and paths and a canoe launch. The park also has repaired picnic shelters and new cabins.

“One of the things that we wanted to do was create a park that people would come to so we can create some revenue we're going to rent the shelters out. We're going to rent these cabins out. It all creates revenue,” Wyman said.

Most of these repairs were paid for with a grant from the state of Michigan. Wyman says the project wouldn't be possible without it.

He's hoping that revenue created from the new improvements can help the parks department become self-sufficient.

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