Like the title says....
For years, there have been a lot of different people try to open different parks, riding areas, and tracks around the St. Clair County, Macomb County and Oakland County area, and they have all failed. I don't know what it is about this area, or if it's just that the people here are lazy and don't care about wheeling and would rather trespass illegally, (the most likely answer....), or sit around and wait for someone else to do the dirty work so they can bitch about the entrance fee when the park actually does open, but here is what I am thinking.
For those of you familiar with the Port Huron area, you know exactly what I am talking about when I bring up the Horizon Outlet Center and the accompanying couple hundred vacant acres that a join it.
Those not familiar with the area, you can find the area I am describing very easily if you know where I-94 is in relation to the Port Huron area. Here is a link to a map of the area:
The property is backed right up against I-94 expressway on the West side of I-94. It is located between the Range Rd. exit (269), and the Ravenswood overpass that crosses over I-94. The property borders the expressway on it's east side, and Allen Road on it's West boundary. To the North are Railroad tracks and to the South is Ravenswood Rd.
This property contains a small amount of businesses on the East side of it which are all accessed off of the Range Rd. entrance. There is an extremely run down strip mall that was built back in the 90's that never really took off. The parking lot area also contains a Burger King that is now closed down, a hotel backed right up that is barely staying a float, and a Gas Station.
If you look at the map, to the North, there are railroad tracks and on the other side of the tracks, are smaller homes on Dove Rd. spaced out quite a bit. To the South is a lot of vacant land with homes dispersed amongst it, along with a shooting range. To the east is the expressway and the West, a couple more homes, with a lot of vacant land.
About 10 years ago, there was a developer, Tony Dafoe that came in and bought this huge chunk of property and began developing a Sports Complex here. It was to contain many very nice things. Amongst them, were a couple professional hockey rinks, a 400,000 Sq. Ft. Convention center, an 8,000 seat auditorium, a hotel, and many restaurants and small shops. Well things were going really smooth and running right on schedule in the late 90's until he just abruptly pulled out of the deal around 1999.
The land with the unfinished concrete and steel structures has sat vacant since. Construction ceased around 2000. There are around 450 acres of vacant land in this area. For a couple years, this was some of the best riding area around, with awesome four wheeling with excellent trails for quads and dirt bikes, big holes for mud trucks and some challenging technical areas that you could flex your suspension out at.
I'll admit, I wheeled the shit out of this place in my early years from when I was 16 until around when I was 19 or 20. Then they put concrete blocks up and fenced the entrances off. Four wheeling came to a halt as we know it in and around the Port Huron area. Not that I am complaining. I mean, hell, I was 100% trespassing. No question about that, and had I known then, what I know now about the bad image that sometimes may have prevailed, I probably would not have done that. But like I said, I was really young.
For the last 10 years, that property has sat vacant. It has not made a nickle of profit and is doing no good with a 1/2 completed arena structure on it that is a godawful eyesore.
I will try to get some pics of this up in the coming days for everyone to take a look at to get a better picture of what I am talking about.
But once you see the area, you might agree that there is a TON of potential in this property. There is not a lot of homes around this property, and the ones that are, have a lot of room between them, so it wouldn't bug a TON of people. Plus, there is a railroad track to the north, which is loud enough as it is. To the south, you have the shooting range that is also fairly loud.
What I am getting at is this....
There arn't a lot of people that live in this immediate area that would be affected by this park and the related noise. I'm not saying there wouldn't be noise, because there would, but the # of people who might get annoyed with it would be limited to say the least.
I think that there is a good potential here for an awesome park, and I think if the rates were reasonable for a season pass, it would pretty much eliminate off roading illegally on private land and trespassing.
If the park contained a lot of challenging terrain, I also feel that people would come from out of state for the quality trails that might be found here, if a good job was done of creating the trails. This could potentially boost the tourism to the Port Huron area and help out a severely economically depressed area big time.
Let me know your thoughts.
P.S.-Here is a series of articles that help sum up what we are up against here in Michigan. You may need to go to the bottom of the screen and hit the > button to go back to when the articles start to get to page 2.