City to Conduct Feasibility Study on Camp Dearborn

The $38,000 study is expected to help the city determine how to make the recreation property more profitable.

A feasibility study approved Tuesday night by Dearborn City Council will help the city determine how to make Camp Dearborn not only sustainable, but more profitable.

"This is a study that the mayor and Recreation Department are asking us to approve to take a look at Camp Dearborn and help us enhance it," Council President Tom Tafelski explained at Tuesday night's council meeting.

The study, to be conducted to Carlisle Wortman Associates, will cost $38,240–taken from the city's Camp Dearborn Operating Fund balance.

It is expected that the contractor will give detailed recommendations for upgrades, changes or rearrangements of the facility in order to make it more appealing to both Dearborn residents and other visitors.

Like past projects, Tafelski said, the costs for any upgrades the city decides to approve–such as a wave pool or water park–would be expected to be repaid to the general fund within a certain period.

Additionally, the study is expected to "give us an idea of other facilities in the area," Tafelski said, "including what they offer and how Camp Dearborn measures up."

Mayor Jack O'Reilly, as well as the Recreation Department, have been vocal in their support for , rather than trying to sell it.

“If we can’t sell it, it should become a revenue generator for the city,” O’Reilly said in 2011, citing the lack of a market for such a facility.

The camp has been either break-even or profitable since 2006, according to Recreation Director Greg Orner. This has allowed camp to pay back the city for funds used to install new RV sites.

The city is also in the process of building , which are expected to draw new users and generate more revenue. The cabins should be completed by the 2012 camp season, Orner said.

chris March 07, 2012 at 01:37 PM
Why not do an online survey such as Facebook as well... get peoples input that won't cost anything... its crazy how times have change, CampDearborn used to be more family oriented now it seems its more about profitting the city of Dearborn...
Jim Johnson March 07, 2012 at 03:03 PM
Why not use the $38,000 intended for the survey to make improvements, such as a wave pool or something like that? As Chris said...use Facebook to get input from the people who actually use Camp Dearborn. When I was growing up that was the place to be in the summer...hopefully things will change and it will be the place to be once again.
Margaret Schaefer March 07, 2012 at 03:08 PM
How about some musical venues at the Camp, featuring our own Dearborn Symphony and the Motor City Brass Band?
M. Imsosure March 07, 2012 at 03:20 PM
I went to Camp Dearborn frequently when I was young. We pitched a tent in what we called hobo village on the river between the dam and the road. There was a college student that was supposed to be like a camp counselor, but we rarely saw him. There were about 15 to 20 of us boys between 13 and 16 years old. What a way to spend a week or two a couple of times a summer. It was a complete blast back in the early 60s. I still see some of the guys from those summers. I don't go there anymore ever since they started making me park my motorcycle at the gate. That was many years ago and I don't know what it is like now. I'm too old and in pain to walk those distances now. I don't use a car in the summer so, I'll stay away. I'm glad Orville's park is still there for people to enjoy.
laplateau March 07, 2012 at 04:19 PM
If O'Reilly's lips are moving, he's lying. I won't believe a thing he says as to what his aims are. I wouldn't put it past him to think this is the first step in his plan to get rid of Camp Dearborn altogether! He can hire anyone to do a "study" and have already told them what he wants the outcome to be. It's like any surveys that are conducted. Get the data then form and mold it into any outcome desired. Isn't it funny that O'Reilly just sold us on a tax increase to save the city from dire consequences, then immediately starts proposing ways to spend money...like the lame brain idea to buy another building for City Hall and try to sell (give away) the current City Hall to some hippie art group that wouldn't have the money to buy it in the first place! Come on voters in Dearborn...it's time to dump O'Reilly AND GET US A REAL MAYOR. Any Orville Hubbard's out there?
Owen March 07, 2012 at 04:48 PM
We surely don't need another Orville Hubbard in Dearborn. Carlisle Wortman Associates is a pretty active ($2m/year and ~20 employees) Michigan consulting firm, although I'm not at all surprised by the price; the allocation of funds for Camp Dearborn is just another in the ongoing line of poor use of our tax monies. If you'd like to see what else CWA has handled take a look at - http://www.cwaplan.com/urban.html - I'm unsure as to why we would waste any expertise or additional money on a place like Camp Dearborn though. Dearborn proper has more than enough areas that could use the support of a skilled hand, especially with funds already designated.
Thomas Barszczowski March 07, 2012 at 05:00 PM
Find out how many residents actually use Camp Dearborn. Not too many cities have a luxury like this. Since there is a toll booth to enter, this should not be too difficult. I asked this question several years ago to Mayor Guido at a breakfast and he could not answer it. If there is a choice between pools and the Camp, I say keep the pools-closer to home and less gas to spend.
Rita Dennaoui March 07, 2012 at 05:52 PM
Please do not waste my tax dollar on Camp Dearborn. I think that place is pathetic and waste of my taxes. Hell the mayor cannot even take care of the services in the city. Trash piles up lawns unkept, back yards are junk place for parked vehicles without a license plate. Heaven forbid you complain, your house is broken into or windows are broken. The Dearborn I once knew is not the Dearborn it is today.
chris March 07, 2012 at 06:15 PM
The one place people can come together go swimming, fish, camp, have family gatherings...is pathetic...? For real, c'mon..... CampDearborn didn't make it what it was they gave us the opportunity, we made CampDearborn, the families that come their make it what it is
sick and tired of the bs March 07, 2012 at 07:31 PM
another study? give me a break. remember the big bucks welcome home dearborn deal to market dearborn? that cost taxpayers 100's of thousands and we are worse off because of it. That made no difference at all. chris's idea sounds good to me. clean up the joint is all you have to do. i always thought a corn maize in the fall would be great at camp (where the old tents used to be) and create a lot of revenue.
marooned in Dbn March 07, 2012 at 07:31 PM
Why not ? A more policitally correct Mayor for the times, with a bit of Hubbard's sense of service to Dbn residents is exactly what we need.
Owen March 07, 2012 at 08:02 PM
He was a segregationist and a racist who hurt Dearborn just as much as he helped it, which is why I feel we do not need another Orville Hubbard. Camp Dearborn and the Dearborn Towers in Florida both came from him as well, and while in their day they were "bastions of our wealth", they've become nothing but an extra weight on the shoulders of the citizens of Dearborn, but of course, hindsight is always 20/20. Our downtown has nothing that would drive tourism beyond Greenfield Village, paid parking prices continue to be raised, property taxes go up through millages which have shown no positive effect for it's citizens, but don't worry, they're also going down because our houses are worth less and less every year. And yet, we still are putting money into Camp Dearborn, still haven't been able to offload the Dearborn Towers due to real estate prices being in the toilet. It's time to step into the 21st century for Dearborn and bring in new blood with new ideas into our local government on all sides, from the City Council to Mayor.
Bob March 08, 2012 at 12:21 AM
How about raising the cost of admittance to Camp Dearborn to coincide with the times? I'm not saying raise it so high that people can't afford it, but how does it make sense that it costs more for a day pass at one of Dearborn's outdoor pools for one person than it does for an ENTIRE CAR full of people to get into Camp Dearborn? It's $6 for a day pass for ONE resident at the pools/$9 for ONE non-resident versus only $4 for a CAR FULL of people with one resident at Camp Dearborn/$6 for a CAR FULL of people that are non-residents. Same thing for the yearly passes. Camp Dearborn = $25 resident/$35 non-resident; Dearborn's outdoor pools yearly pass = $45 adult resident/$80 adult non-resident. How is this logical? You have access to so much more at Camp Dearborn, the cost should reflect that. How about charging on a per person basis, obviously with a lower cost for children and seniors. These extra profits from Camp Dearborn could then be used to help out the libraries and outdoor pools in Dearborn. Since supposedly Camp Dearborn is profitable now, let the money from Camp Dearborn support the pools/libraries to make up for all the years our tax dollars supported Camp Dearborn. The $38,240 for the feasibility survey would have kept Snow Branch Library open for about three months. I think that would be a better use of the money considering Snow Branch was the second highest used library in the city. So sad the way this city is heading; it's history is being destroyed.
POWDERBURNER March 08, 2012 at 01:34 AM
You be a 100% right. Another Orville Hubbard is exactly what this city needs... tough love / governing from someone who isn't afraid of not being politically correct. This city, after years of mismanagement, touchy feely idealogy, and blowing money, is broke. Close that useless camp down and your pools. Your brats want to swim??? Take 'em to Belle Isle or Metro Beach and quit gouging us taxpayers 'cuz you refuse to shed your entitlement mentality.
chris March 08, 2012 at 02:30 AM
@ Bob just went last week to reserve a couple tents they raised the price to $50/day and got rid of residential discount.... a lot of u are missing it, campdearborn isn't hurting for money, they are attempting to make profit for the city of dearborn, which I don't think this is the way to go....
Kristyn Taylor March 08, 2012 at 02:41 PM
I completely agree. This is a significant amount of money and can go toward making the improvements they think are needed or toward other more pressing needs in the city. With the dire financial situation the City says we are in, funds need to be spent on taking action on priorities. I would say that a study by a consulting firm for Camp Dearborn doesn't make the cut.
Frank Lee March 08, 2012 at 04:34 PM
Why does the Recreation director make 110,000 a year. If he can't find constructive ways to make Camp Dearborn work at that rate of pay replace him. There is zero accountability in this city government and Tafelski is a total toadstool for supporting another waste of money on a worthless study. Dearborn needs to clean house including council. We need people with ideas not more leeches kicking the can down the road with another study. This mayor has never held a private sector job and been held to any constructive standard of success, he waddled his way into this job because of his fathers political connections and his lack of political consensious and leadership shows. This parasite oreilly needs to be voted out.
marooned in Dbn March 08, 2012 at 06:15 PM
The problem as I see it is that Camp Dbn is located in the boundries of another city entity. Different city zoneing and regulations govern our, (Dbn's) ability to liquidate, (sell) a "white elephant, for the majority of Dbn residents who dont have so much of a use for the place as a minority of city residents do. If it were located within the city's boundries, then our own rules could apply, as far as land zoneing. Such as it exists, we are stuck with it. This is akin to owning vacant land with an "et al" status, where multiple ppl own the same property, stifling different individual owners desires to the point of a form of an entailment. Lesson...NEVER own land that YOU do not totally control
chris March 08, 2012 at 06:46 PM
Lmao.... nice lesson... do we actaully own any land when we purchase it...? If I "own" my land why does the city have control of it... its hard to believe that many view CD as useless land... Dearborn is the only city to have property within another city, interesting, and with all the bad comments being made not one has said what is wrong with it... I will tell u what is good about it though.. while I love going up to the U.P. and find some state land to camp on, CD tops all that, its the only family camp ground with multiple activities for the entire family, families are able to reunite, spend time togther, and relax... In my opinion I think instead of using all this money start with coming up with ideas of bringing in more families, more family oriented like it originally was, give family discounts something of the sort... I'm amazed how much money is being spent because the city has no other way of making profit...
SnotNosedTommy March 09, 2012 at 12:38 AM
Spot on Frank, if the director can't figure out how to improve the program, why is he also getting paid?
marooned in Dbn March 09, 2012 at 04:16 PM
In truth, Chris..the answer to your question is really no. Yes, you may own the structure that sits on that land, but the "state", has "eminent domain" on the land itself, below your structure. (eg. fail to pay your "property taxes"...what happens ? You're out on the top of the curb) This is why I consider "property taxes", to be in reality, a form of land rent. These taxes we pay to the city and county, are really LAND RENTS. This is not a simple matter of a simple TAX. This is called RENT SEEKING. This is in fact, the principle behind the foundation of OPEC..
chris March 09, 2012 at 09:28 PM
The city puts a lean on it....
Frank Lee March 10, 2012 at 02:56 PM
Property taxes are not rent seeking. OPEC is a cartel and in no way is similar to municipal taxes. This is an objective fact. Rent seeking has an objective definition.
Carla O'Neill March 19, 2012 at 02:25 PM
Why is the city retaining/paying an Ann-Arbor based company: (http://www.cwaplan.com/) to do this feasibility study? Is there a reason why a Dearborn-based company could not do the same thing and at least keep our city dollars in the city?
Axxel Knutson April 06, 2012 at 11:12 AM
Sell Dearborn, everyone buy tents & move to CD.
Annette July 11, 2012 at 05:21 AM
Camp Dearborn is an amazing place. My husband and I have travelled all over the world, but we always look forward to our annual CD week. There is nothing like the fun times and cherished memories we share with family, up to 10 tents full, and the relatives that come out for a day or two.. This is a place that generations have great memories of, and a real treasure of Dearborn.


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