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Old January 23rd, 2009, 01:53 AM   #1
hillbillyrockstar
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Default Ideas, suggestions, flaming, advice....whatever on a wheeling park around Port Huron

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:

link

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.

Zach

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.
http://www.zoominfo.com/people/Defeo...947044838.aspx

Last edited by hillbillyrockstar; January 23rd, 2009 at 01:57 AM.
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Old January 23rd, 2009, 07:00 AM   #2
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I think the first step is to contact the owner & see if they are open to suggestions. If they're not then you are wasting your time.
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Old January 23rd, 2009, 07:13 AM   #3
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Next would be to contact the local township to see if they are amicable to rezoning or if they have any specific plans for it. It's probably Commercial or Light Industrial and it will need to be Recreation If you can't get it rezoned, don't even consider putting anymore effort into it. Regardless of what the property owner wan't to do, if it dosen't fit into the master pan for the township, you're pushing a rope. This is the same problem the group 'Kids in the Mudd' had last year.
WRT the Township, If you do approach them, you'll have ONE shot and one shot only. You'll need a kick ass professionally prepared, well thought out presentation complete with pictures of your proposal, even if their artist's renderings, pictures and historical data for other parks that your using as a reference, income potential, revenue streams i.e. Grants, etc. You have to remember, the Township has shut down the 'illegal teenage hotspot' and will be very unwilling to open the doors to increased traffic, noise, and residential complaints should a motorized venue be allowed to operate there.
jim-kb8ymf

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Old January 24th, 2009, 05:39 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kb8ymf View Post
You have to remember, the Township has shut down the 'illegal teenage hotspot' and will be very unwilling to open the doors to increased traffic, noise, and residential complaints should a motorized venue be allowed to operate there.
jim-kb8ymf
Funny you mention that because a lot of my teenage memories and whatnot from high school took place out there with a lot of bonfires and whatnot.

Anyways, yea, I definitely am not going to go to the township before talking to the owner and have some sort of powerpoint/presentation available.

The owner very well may want to hold onto it and open a park anyways in the meantime to generate some revenue while the land sits vacant. Then if he ever decided to develop the land, he could shut the park down and develop it. But the land just sitting there isn't really making him any money.

What do you guys think? Would you be down for travelling to Port Huron to wheel and support the area? Or is it too far of a drive?
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Old January 24th, 2009, 08:13 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hillbillyrockstar View Post
Would you be down for travelling to Port Huron to wheel and support the area? Or is it too far of a drive?
All depends on what it is, what challenges are there, admission fee, etc. Pics would help.
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Old January 24th, 2009, 11:16 AM   #6
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Best of luck, we can use all the parks we can get. As far as using the park, price is not as much of an issue as is the quality and quantity of the trails. For me tight trails and rock crawling would get my attention. Port Huron would be closer than anything else, but a more centrally located park in southern Mi might pull in more customers.

Here is Fourwheeler's "Off-Road Park 101 Essential Tips For Starting Your Own ORV Park"
http://www.fourwheeler.com/featuredv...ips/index.html

Quote:
Originally Posted by FOURWHEELER
Park owners tell us that insurance is their biggest expense and there are only a couple of companies willing to underwrite ORV parks. If you can qualify for insurance, we're told that annual premiums for a full-time park range from $20,000 to more than $50,000. Figuring a $20,000 annual premium and a $15 per-vehicle day rate, this means that it'll take well over 1,300 paying customers to meet your premium.
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Old January 24th, 2009, 12:05 PM   #7
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I wheeled out there about 3 years ago. Was on my way to my friends house who lives right down the street from the area in question and they were clear cutting all the trees down. Let me know what the owner says. Might be able to get some equipment to make the trails better
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Old January 24th, 2009, 07:18 PM   #8
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Clear cutting the trees is the first way to pay the taxes when your short of cash, might be good sign that the owner needs cash. What really PO,s me is there are more places like this out there, why cant the dept (DNR) get something put to geather for the SE Mich use area. Find out ASAP as the next ORV Board meeting is Feb 4.
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Old March 8th, 2009, 02:37 PM   #9
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Well, over the last month, I have been extremely busy with school and whatnot, and I just got a new job, so I havn't had much time to dedicate to this endeavor.

A couple buddies, along with myself checked with the surrounding neighbors and whatnot. We went door to door, and I let them know who I was and what I was all about and about my idea for the place. We brought up the issues that a wheeling park would have associated with it, and mainly, the big concern was the noise it would produce. There were also a couple issues with the potential erosion of the land, associated with it.

Overall, the feelings towards the park seemed to be mixed.

I was thinking about it, and if it was opened up, it would mainly be tight trails with considerable rocks and some climbs, etc.

I'll keep you guys updated.
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