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Macomb Signs Off on Five More Years of Private Management at Spring Lake

Rich Egger
A mid-Autumn day at Spring Lake Park

Former Macomb alderman Ryan Hansen will continue to privately manage Spring Lake Park for the next five years. The new contract goes into effect when the current three-year agreement expires at the end of December, 2017.     

The last detail to be worked between the two was how much money the city would pay for upkeep of the park.

City's initial offer: $40,000
Hansen's initial offer: $70,000                      
City countered: $60,000 with all members except Second ward Alderman John Vigezzi voting in favor
Hansen: declined the offer and countered with $70,000
Alderman Viggezzi: upped city’s offer to $70,000. First Ward Alderman Mike Wayland seconded the motion and it passed on a voice vote with Fifth Ward Alderwoman Gayle Carper voting no.

That's about $10,000 less than the city pays now.

After the vote, Wayland said it was clear that $70,000 was Hansen’s lowest offer. He said the city is getting a much better deal with Hansen managing Spring Lake than when the Macomb Park District was in charge. The year Hansen took over, the park district had requested $120,000 for upkeep.

Credit TSPR's Emily Boyer
Hansen attended the Macomb city council meeting with more than a dozen frequent campers at Spring Lake Park in a show of support.

“Since then, Ryan’s had it and he’s improved the value of the property for the citizen’s tremendously and we are spending $50,000 less a year and having it increase in value every year as belonging to the city I just thought was the way to go,” Wayland.

During the past three years, Hansen has expanded the number of camp sites at the park and added cabins and upgraded the boating docks.

Hansen said he’s looking forward to continuing his partnership with the city. “It’s just a big relief and a weight off my shoulders to have this contract. We have been working on this for six months now with the city. It’s good to be able to plan for the future and start being able to make plans to improve the park,” Hansen said.

The new five year contract also does away with a revenue-sharing agreement between Spring Lake Management and the City. For the last three years, all profits at Spring Lake that exceeded $58,000 were split 50/50 between Hansen and the city.

 The city had been reinvesting most of its share back into the park. But, the revenue-sharing agreement was kept out of the new contract because the city is no longer expected to invest in capital improvement projects. 

Mayor Mike Inman said that stipulation was taken out due to the city’s budget constraints and competing needs. “I don’t see anybody saying that we are not going to make any more investments in Spring Lake. But right now, we need to take it one year at a time,” Inman said.

After much back-and-forth this year, the city did ultimately give Hansen about $40,000 to build more campsites at Spring Lake. Hansen said he has not spent the money because he was waiting to see if he would still have a job next year.

If Hansen decides to invest his own money into expansion projects, his company will directly benefit from it. Spring Lake Park is free to visit. But there are fees associated with staying in the cabins or using a campsite or golf cart. Canoes, kayaks, pontoons, and fishing equipment are also available for rent.   

Emily Boyer is a former reporter at Tri States Public Radio.