By Rosemary Horvath
Property owned by the Michigan Fraternal Order of Eagles on U.S. 10 in Clare County’s Garfield Township will become the staging area for Michigan Department of Transportation crews and equipment replacing a bridge over the Chippewa Creek.
Crews will construct a single-lane temporary road and bridge on the south side of the U.S.-10 bridge, said Jocelyn Hall, MDOT spokesperson. She said both directions of traffic will be maintained during construction with a temporary signal.
Target for completion is August.
Some day, the same staging area on the north side of the highway may be another construction site if members of the fraternal organization support rebuilding their Family Recreation Center there.
Fire destroyed the historic center on the south side of the highway in October 2014. It had been a popular site for members from around Michigan and parts of Canada to camp and recreate.
The main lodge contained 12 sleeping cottages, offices, restaurant and bar, and indoor recreation. It was declared a total loss.
This week state trustee Rob Ballor of near Port Huron said soil testing is under way.
“With everything having to be brought up to (building) code, we found out we had no room to properly rebuild with everything we had at the old site.”
Land across the highway consists of 300 acres, adequate for a large septic system needed to accommodate large crowds and a shower house.
“It is a big move but the only one that is feasible,” Ballor said.
He stressed that the membership would have to support the plan for it to move forward. If the proposal is accepted, the plan is to break ground by spring indicated Ballor.
An engineering firm and construction company are draws up plans. Meanwhile, officers are working on what the organization can afford.