Deflated: Village fails to support floating play structure

By: 
Dave Lein, Editor

ELK RAPIDS – While the concept itself was praised, several key ancillary factors took the air out of a large floating play structure proposed for placement in the bay off Veterans Memorial Park beach in Elk Rapids.

The concept was originally pitched by TC Splash local owners/residents Matt and Nikki Indish at the March 18 Elk Rapids Village Council meeting. At that time, Matt Indish offered a presentation to council members which followed a similar presentation made earlier to the village’s Parks and Recreation Committee.

Essentially, the floating obstacle course would be approximately 173 feet by 130 feet, anchored about 1,200-1,250 feet out from the western shore of the beach in 3 to 11 feet of water. The interconnected segments of the inflatable structure would operate from early June until the end of August, seven days a week from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Participants would be required to wear personal flotation devices, three lifeguards would be on duty at all times, along with an overnight security guard.

Costs to use the structure were estimated by Indish to be approximately $20 an hour, along with the possibility of day and seasonal passes. A non-permanent ticket booth / PFD storage area was also proposed for location in the park to sell admission wristbands.

During the March 18 meeting, council members requested clarification on several issues including: security, lifeguards, parking (shuttle), extra trash collection, portable bathrooms, as well as required approval necessary from the DNR and U.S. Coast Guard.

Village manager Bill Cooper met with the couple earlier this month to further address those questions and detailed that information as part of his report to council at its meeting on Monday, April 15.

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