Spicer Group selected as lead consultant for Explore the Shores water access sites

MANISTEE — Spicer Group has been selected by an advisory team to be the lead project planning and management consultant for water access sites developed under the Explore the Shores program.

The Explore the Shores program is coordinated jointly by the Alliance for Economic Success (AES) and Manistee County Community Foundation (MCCF) with a mission of providing outstanding access for people of all ages, needs and abilities to the County’s bounty of water resources.

Since 2008, 20 sites have been developed under the award-winning program on inland rivers and lakes and Lake Michigan supported with approximately $9 million from public agency and foundation grants.

Spicer Group was selected through a competitive request for proposals process to provide site investigation and preliminary site design and engineering for grant applications to develop Explore the Shores Sites and to oversee site development and construction when grant applications are approved for funding.

Spicer will provide all site plans, concept drawings, cost estimates and other required information, including an assessment of universal design applications so that the site can be used and enjoyed by all populations.

Upon award of an Explore the Shores grant, Spicer will work with the AES or MCCF to ensure projects are effectively managed to meet grant program guidelines, local expectations and all permit requirements. Spicer will provide final engineering and site planning; solicitation of bids; subcontractor management and tracking of all projects to ensure timely completion.

An independent review team ranked proposals received according to 16 criteria and unanimously selected Spicer Group.

Tim Ervin, Resource Development Director of the AES, said that the rating among applicants was close but three factors seemed to support Spicer’s choice.

“While Spicer has a statewide presence with 200 staff and 72 years of business, their leadership team for Explore the Shores is an ideal fit,” Ervin said, citing that the team includes Rob Eggers who oversees Spicer’s Community Planning Department; Pat Bentley who, in addition to his survey work for Spicer, is a licensed Charter Captain and former board member of the Manistee County Sport Fishing Association; and Mark Trieglaff of ACTServices from Chicago, a national expert in universal design applications in recreation projects who has a degree in Outdoor and Therapeutic Recreation and formerly served as a consultant to the W.K. Kellogg Foundation during their Access to Recreation Program.

Spicer has a local office on River Street in the City of Manistee.

“The Explore the Shores program has a wonderful reputation of successfully providing all populations with ways to use and enjoy their spectacular lakes, rivers and wetlands, and Great Lakes shorelines,” said Trieglaff. “I’m looking forward to being part of a team to support this best-in-class program that is good for Manistee County, its residents and, of course, its tourism economy.”

“When formally approved by the State Department of Natural Resources, the County’s new Recreation Plan will provide an incredible resource for identifying and developing future Explore the Shores sites,” said Laura Heintzelman, Executive Director of the MCCF. “Thanks to County Planner Rob Carson and AES Community Development Director Tamara Buswinka who facilitated completion of the plan, our partners at Spicer Group will have current, accurate information about how our communities want these special places to be developed.”

Heintzelman said that Explore the Shores has received recognition for partnership in recreation from the U.S. Forest Service in Washington D.C. and the Michigan Department of Natural Resources Fisheries Division.

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