Discussions Begin for New River Access Site to Relieve Street Parking Congestion

On the southwest corner of Huron River Drive and Mast Road, property has become available for possible public access to the Huron River which, if utilized, could relieve the current congestion created by river users parking along Huron River Drive.

Dexter City Council member Paul Cousins briefed the Dexter Forum on the very, very early, initial discussions that some of the area municipalities are having in regards to the property which is available for purchase. The property, located directly across the river from the Dexter Cider Mill, currently has a house and small barn.

The City of Dexter, Webster Township, Washtenaw County Parks Commission, and Huron-Clinton Metroparks Authority have begun considering a collaborative effort that would purchase the nearly two acres and turn it into a public park specifically for river access and  parking for kayakers, fisherman, canoeists, and floaters enjoying a day on the water.

Currently, many river users park their cars illegally along the shoulder of Huron River Drive with vehicles partially blocking the traffic lane and pedestrian movement creating a hazard. The same situation occurs further down river at the Zeeb Road bridge where the Burns-Stokes Preserve is located with a small parking lot. On busy summer days, parking overflows into the road.

Parking for the popular Central St. river access site was constricted a few years ago with the completion of the Border-to-Border Trail coming into Dexter from the Dexter-Huron Metropark further up the road on Huron River Drive. The paved trail was built over space previously used for river parking. Huron Street (Cider Mill, Classic Pizza) also has a strict no parking ordinance stemming from past problems with congestion.

The discussions are in response to Dexter’s growing popularity as a destination for outdoor activity. Paul Cousins emphasized to the group that a lot has to take place to make the project a reality, primarily funding. “It would take a number of dollars to make it happen,” he said. “There’s two parts: first there’s the acquisition of the property and then there’s the development of that property. The discussion right now is how to make that happen.”

But wait. There’s more.

Speaking of the development of that 5-point corner of Huron River Drive, Mast Road, and Joy Road, Paul teased the group with the mention of conceptual drawings for a roundabout to address the precarious, even treacherous intersection. There are no plans as of yet, but ideas are quietly being tossed about.

Fingers crossed.

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