$15 million improvement efforts happening Cassopolis

Updated: May. 18, 2021 at 5:58 PM EDT
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CASSOPOLIS, Mich. (WNDU) - If you haven’t seen Cassopolis lately, then you haven’t seen Cassopolis.

Work is winding down on nearly $15 million worth of improvements.

In the past, perhaps Cassopolis took for granted its proximity to Stone Lake, but the village is now willing to embrace it in a big way.

All paths now lead to the waterfront along a mile or so of freshly laid pavers that extend about from the downtown to the boat launch.

A nautical themed arch now greets visitors who can a take a long walk on a long pier—a 230-footer—from which anglers can fish, swimmers can dive, and transient boaters can park.

The pier also lights up at night.

Then there’s the beach in front of a paved promenade that will soon be lined with the likes of food trucks, “beer tents, bands, kayaks, paddle boards, canoe rentals…” said Cassopolis business owner Michael Vite.

“If you don’t invest in yourself, if you’re not moving forward, if you’re not investing, you’re dying,” Village Manager Emilie Sarratore told 16 News Now.

It is a big investment for a village of 1,700 residents, but the project is already being credited with bringing new life to empty storefronts downtown.

“In the last year we’ve sold, 75 percent of the downtown buildings have new owners, we have seen facades improve, spaces improve,” said Sarratore.

The Twirl restaurant is expanding by building a 1,400 square foot outdoor deck that overlooks the beach.

“I think this is a turning point for Cassopolis,” The Twirl owner Michael Vite explained. “This will put us on the map.”

The village raised about $6 million in state and federal grants for the project. Sarratore insists that the time was right to make a large investment in Cassopolis, “to show that this community, that they deserve something great, that just because we are small and rural, doesn’t mean we can’t be beautiful and fantastic.”

The village will hold a Beach Bash on June 4th and 5th that will include live music, a beer garden, food trucks, a rock-climbing wall, kayak and paddle boat rentals, and fireworks.

Efforts are now being made on the part of private investors to obtain permits needed to bring an inflatable water park to Stone Lake in 2022.

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