New Resort Underway in Western Michigan
The Jourden family is back at it again, trying to create a tourism destination in Muskegon County, Mich.
This time it’s Roger Jourden II, the son of the Michigan’s Adventure Amusement Park founder Roger Jourden, and his wife, Casey, who are the force behind the project. And this time the resort caters to RV campers instead of thrill-ride seekers, according to the Muskegon Chronicle.
Construction began last week on Duck Creek RV Resort, a 299-site upscale campground designed to provide customers with large, full hookup sites and on-site activities.
The resort’s prime location – across from the entrance to Michigan’s Adventure – would seem to be an ideal draw and Roger and Casey Jourden readily agree it is a plus, but they are marketing it as a stand-alone destination resort/campground. They plan on operating the resort from mid-April to mid-October, longer than the popular amusement park’s peak season.
“Certainly, Michigan’s Adventure is an advantage, being that close,” said Roger Jourden II, who grew up at the amusement park that has become West Michigan’s top summer tourist destination. “However, we’re trying to make it a destination unto itself with what we’re offering.”
The resort on the 73-acre site is being constructed in two phases. The first phase, featuring 157 sites, is scheduled to open in the spring. The second phase, featuring a five-acre pond and the remaining 142 sites, is planned for 2010 or 2011.
The amenities include a 3,500-square-foot clubhouse with a game room; a large, heated pool with a section for young children; a Jacuzzi; two playground structures; a tennis court; a shuffleboard court; a basketball court; trails; and kayaks or paddle boats as rentals for use on the pond. The office building near the entrance also will have a camp store. A portion of Duck Creek runs through the northern part of the site and a 300-foot buffer along the creek will provide a natural area.
Planned activities, theme-focused weekends, facilities for retiree rallies and entertainment will be available for campers.
Resort Will Fill Need
An official from Michigan’s Adventure said the new resort/campground will fill a need in the area and the amusement park has plans to construct a campground or hotel of its own in the future.
“I definitely think there is a need for additional camping in the area,” said Camille Jourden-Mark, general manager of Michigan’s Adventure and the older sister of Roger Jourden II. “We have guests every day asking us for places to camp or hotels.”
Jourden-Mark said Cedar Fair, which owns Michigan’s Adventure, has plans for “capital expansion,” with park officials exploring the options of a campground or a hotel, with no commitment to either at this time.
“I wish them the best,” she said of the development owned by her brother and sister-in-law.
The resort/campground received the necessary final approval from the Dalton Township Board of Trustees last week. The zoning for the site was changed from residential to resource/conservation, matching the zoning already in place for an adjacent property, and a special-use permit was granted.
May Opening Planned
Armed with camping experiences at a variety of places, the Jourdens have designed their resort/campground to resemble the River Ridge Resort in Stanwood, Mich., a self-described luxury RV resort.
The sites at Duck Creek RV Resort will include a paved RV pad and patio, just like the ones at River Ridge. All of the sites are being designed as 65 feet by 50 feet, including the pad, patio and irrigated grass, and will be equipped with full hookup for water, sewer, electric and cable television.
The roads in the resort/campground will be paved and the rows of sites will be separated with grassy areas where children can play.
The rates have not been finalized, but the Jourdens expect the peak summer season to feature rates between $45-$55.
First phase construction is expected to be completed in time for the resort/campground to open in late May, the weekend before Memorial Day weekend.
The Jourdens, who will operate their campground/resort, expect to have 20-30 seasonal employees and possibly one full-time employee.