CHASSELL, Mich. (WJMN) – Keith Meyers calls Chassell home and among many roles, serves as Vice-Chair on the Chassell Township Planning Commission.

“My dad’s originally from Chassell and I actually spent my working career in Kansas,” said Meyers. “But there was no question, once I had the opportunity to retire, I knew where I was going to come.”

Meyers says this place he calls home, is one of a kind.

“I think the U.P. and particularly the Keweenaw, is probably one of the best kept secrets in the country in terms of a place to live,” said Meyers. “I mean we all know this from living here, we’re in a place with ubiquitous natural beauty. I mean it’s everywhere we turn. I joke about this but when I lived in Kansas our number one tourist destination was the Cabela’s at the Kansas Raceway and here, I could pick out probably two dozen places within 40 minutes of my front door and if I drop those places in Kansas, they’d probably be the number one tourist destination.”

Meyers told Local 3 News about some of the recreational opportunities Chassell has to offer.

“Centennial Park is a really awesome place here in Chassell,” said Meyers. “Kind of a great gathering point for the community as well as those who visit the community. Clearly one of the big features is the boat launch. If I’m not mistaken, we may actually be the most used boat launch in the Keweenaw and in addition to that we got a great fish-cleaning station here as well. But then, we’ve got the amenities like the playground that’s out behind us here which is a new feature. It replaced an old playground that we had here, and we replaced that with the help of the Portage Health Foundation grant as well as a grant from the Chassell Lion’s Club. You’ll see horseshoe pits out here, there’s a volleyball court, basketball court. We’ve got the pavilion. The farmer’s market takes place there. During the winter, it’s a great place for ice skating and hockey and so forth. We also have the Chassell Bark Park which was the first fenced-off dog leash dog park in the Upper Peninsula.”

Much of this is because of recreational grants awarded to Chassell.

“Made available from the Portage Health Foundation,” said Meyers. “Just here in this community alone, we talk about the playground and being supported by one of those grants, but we also have a 10-station fitness trail up on our cross-country ski trail system here in the community which was funded by Portage Health Foundation grants. We have a canoe and kayak launch out on the Sturgeon River which was also funded by a Portage Health Foundation grant. We also received a small grant to get a 9-hole disc golf course in place out behind the school.”

More recreation is coming to this town with a history lesson.

“Our historic interpretive trail is going to be going on the site of what was the first Sturgeon River Lumber Company and then the Worcester Lumber Company,” said Meyers. “Those two companies operated between 1888 and 1929. The area is grown over now and so you’d hardly know it even existed at one time, but this area where the park is at and onto the south was a huge industrial complex at one point in time. Now, we’ll have an opportunity to tell that history with the help of our local high school students and a graduate student who has helped us out from the Industrial Archaeology Program at Michigan Tech University. It will be prettied up here by the art and design class at Michigan Tech as well as we go to the phase of actually putting in the signage but it’s going to be really cool, and it will be a way for people to get exercise walking through this loop trail out here but to learn more about the history of their community. Anyone who has been here for any length of time probably has some kind of a tie whether it’s to the mill, the railroad associated with it, or possibly in the lumber camps that helped feed mills.”

The goal is to make Chassell a great place to live, work and play.

“A lot of the work that we’ve been doing over the last several years has been very focused on that objective,” said Meyers. “And so, as you see a lot of these amenities are there to make this a great place for our residents to live and our residents have kind of been a key part of that process. We’ve surveyed them and they’ve provided input as we put our five-year recreation plan together, so it’s not just been people sitting in a room deciding where we’re going to go with this. We took the input from our citizens and that’s been what’s been driving the direction that we’ve been taking and so everybody benefits from that. We’ve got amenities that are in the interest of the people that live here but just as well for people that come through this area, it’s a reason for them to maybe spend more time in Chassell as they’re passing through. We’re also hoping that it will help draw, I’m very involved with what’s called the ‘Remote Workforce Keweenaw’ initiative and we’re very focused on trying to draw people that have the ability to work remotely to consider Chassell as a place to do that from. So having these kinds of amenities in place help us from and economic development perspective as well.”

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