May has flown by. Hopefully, the weather will finally figure out what month it is and we can move forward with our summer.

On May 23rd , from 10 until 2, several of us took to the river for our 1st river clean up for the summer.  Representatives from the American Canoe Association, the Eaton Rapids Medical Center, the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, the Eaton County Sheriff’s Office, the Eaton Rapids High School, the Greyhound Performance Academy and the Ingham County Parks Department picked up trash, counted turtles, took water samples, collected invertebrates and had a great time on the water.  This was topped off with a fantastic lunch supplied by Chef Dan and the Eaton Rapids Craft Company.  I would like to thank and recognize our sponsors. Athletico, the Eaton Rapids Downtown Development Authority, the City of Eaton Rapids, the American Canoe Association and the Eaton Rapids Public Schools.    It is up to all of us to protect one of Eaton Rapids most valuable resources and this community effort went a long way in doing so. 

As a reminder, please practice “No Trace” on the river.  Take only memories and photographs and leave only foot prints.

The City of Eaton Rapids, in conjunction with the Michigan State Housing Development Authority, would like to announce that we have been provided $100,000.00 in grant funds to help property owners with property maintenance and rehab projects.  These funds will be available to lower income members of our community. Please contact Quality of Life Director Lindsey Zeller at 663-8118 ext 8178 to determine if you qualify.

The City of Eaton Rapids will be offering a second round of the Curb Side Appeals grant program. These are matching grants available to all property owners (rental properties included) to help you with those small projects that may be just out of reach.  Contact Quality of Life Director Lindsey Zeller ext 8178 for specifics.  The application for the Curb Side Appeals grant program can also be found on the City of Eaton Rapids website.

For many years the bridge leading from the GAR Park to Hamlin St has been in disrepair. I’m sure you have crossed over or under this bridge at some point and have marveled at the fact that it is still standing.  As we move forward with the Michigan Main Street program and our revitalization projects in our downtown the GAR Park is a vital element that needs to be addressed. It is our “Center” and anything that can be done to restore this “Jewel on the Grand” should be done. To that end, we are pursuing a large grant through the CDBG that will allow for not only the construction of a new bridge but to the restoration of both the north and south sea walls.  During the council discussion it was stressed that while we want to see this project move forward it is paramount that the new bridge not only be functional but that it embraces the historic nature of our community.

The Eaton Rapids Outdoor Recreation Center had its grand opening Memorial weekend.  Our staff was busy putting both kayaks and canoes on the river.  It is still a little cold and quick for tubes but we will get there soon enough.  I want to encourage you to take the opportunity to visit the ORC and take advantage of the services that they have to offer. They even offer shuttle service for you and your boat.  Currently, the ORC is open on Saturday and Sunday from 10 am until 6 pm.

Beginning Friday, June 14th, the ORC will be open Friday, Saturday and Sunday from 10 am until 6 pm.  The ORC is located in Mill Pointe Park behind the Eaton Rapids Craft Company and Quality Dairy.

Free paddle Tuesdays will start on June 11th.  Come to the ORC between 5 pm and 7 pm and you will be provided with a kayak, paddle and life jacket for use in the area between Mill Pointe Park and the State St.  bridge.  This is a fantastic opportunity to see your downtown from the water and enjoy the island from a different angle. Best of all, It’s free.

Please take the opportunity to enjoy our community. Remember to be kind to those around you.  It takes the same amount of effort to disparage a person as it does to encourage them.

Congratulations to this year’s ERHS and GPA graduates.  Remember that short term sacrifices will result in long term goals.

Let’s all work together to promote our community and continue to make Eaton Rapids a great place to live, work and raise your family.