Camp Dearborn Continues Profits, But Future Unclear for City's Recreational Site
A feasibility study on the camp requested in March is likely to be completed in October.
As the summer comes to a close, the City of Dearborn is taking a look at the status of use for its newly built resort-style cabins, and the outlook for their locale, Camp Dearborn.
The cabins saw 84.38 percent occupancy during the peak season—Memorial Day through Labor Day—which was above set goals, said Recreation and Parks Director Greg Orner.
“We budgeted for an 80 percent occupancy,” Orner said, “so we’re ahead of schedule.”
Preliminary numbers for fiscal year 2012, which ended June 30, show that the camp overall will give back $125,000 in funds to the city over expenses.
The department is on target to pay back the $310,000 in general funding used to fund construction of the cabins; however, there’s no word on whether more will be built.
“We have not made any definitive plans,” Orner said. “But if the resort cabins are any indication, it was a good first year.”
The city has expressed interest in further developing Camp Dearborn in several ways in order to make it a profitable venture, but before any further developments are made, they’re waiting on the results of a feasibility study currently being conducted by an outside, hired party.
Orner said they expect the results to come back in October—which might direct the city toward development, or toward sale of the property.
“It’s a long-term plan from an independent perspective,” Orner said. “It could be anything from enhancing the facility with an adventure theme or water parks, or could be something else.”
Additionally, the study is expected to "give us an idea of other facilities in the area," City Council President Tom Tafelski said, "including what they offer and how Camp Dearborn measures up."
But chances of the property being rezoned to make it more attractive to potential developers—a prospect proposed by Dearborn Mayor Jack O’Reilly—are slim.
Milford Township Supervisor Don Green said that he has met multiple times with O’Reilly and camp manager Lee Morris.
“They’ve been cleaning up a lot of issues they have with the camp,” Green said. “A lot of people use it … (and) they’re upgrading the facility.”
But on the issue of rezoning, Green said his team is waiting on the feasibility study for direction as well.
“It all depends on what it would be rezoned to,” he said, adding that Milford Township is “pretty strict on our zoning issues here."
“Our stance has always been that the way it’s zoned is the way it is,” he added.
Orner added that in his recollection, Milford had looked at selling a small portion of its Kensington Metropark for development, and that the idea had not flown with residents.
“Residents came out in full force in opposition of developing the land,” he said.
Orner expects a similar response to the idea of rezoning Camp Dearborn.