City of Gibraltar, Rotary Kayak Launch

Community: City of Gibraltar
Population: 2,500-9,999

mimSince 2009, the City of Gibraltar has been in the process of planning, securing funding, engineering and building a public access kayak launch at our City’s Center. The completion of the project was recently achieved. This new ADA compliant and barrier free accessible launch builds on a strong movement in southeast Michigan to take advantage of our greatest natural resource, the Detroit River and Lake Erie basin. Installed in a unique location the building of this launch meets location priorities listed in the Downtown Development Plan and builds off a synergy with adjacent U.S. Fish and Wildlife Properties located to the north, Gibraltar Recreation Properties located to the west, and Huron Clinton Metro Park properties located to the South. The location is also very significant because of the natural canal system located in our City that allows you to kayak from one end of town to another, providing a unique transportation option. Collaboration on funding for the project involved, a significant donation by the Gibraltar/Rockwood Rotary Club, Wayne County Parks Grants, the City of Gibraltar Downtown Development Authority, ACT 51 Non-motorized funding and volunteer efforts.


The actions of the City of Gibraltar to complile funding from various sources (4 in total), including private and public funds is very significant and not easy to replicate. In addition, the unique nature of the design of the launch (ADA capabilities) is replicated by one other known launch in the entire state of Michigan. This is a unique project that is not had has not been easy to replicate.

Creativity and Originality:

Because of the difficulty of obtaining public access property to the water in an urban area, the location chosen was actually done in a pubic easement along a bridge abutment. Utilities exists in the 30ft. wide segment of property including gas, electric, and water which needed to be worked around. Flood control measures also needed to be maintained (berms), so engineering needed to build those into the design while still maintaining access to the water in a fashion that complied with ADA slope mandates. Water levels fluctuate in the area of the launch so a hydraulic design needed to be developed that allowed for adjustments to water levels.

Community Impact:

The kayak launch location is in the City's center. It provides for a unique opportunity to improve one of the main focal points of the City. In addition, synergy is created with surrounding property uses ( recreation, food, etc.) that leads to a vibrant Downtown full of energy and pedestrian activity. Public access to what is normally a private resource (waterfront, and water access) is provided by the development.

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