A BRIEF HISTORY OF CHANGES & GROWTH
THE BEGINNING THROUGH 2000
Researched & written by Tom Finn, lot 195, May 26, 2001
History And Interesting Facts Of Cedar Shores Campground
Each year Cedar Shores welcomes new members into the campground. Many of these new member co-owners, and even some of the old, have no knowledge of the early beginning of the park. The information you are about to read is intended to provide a bit of insight to the start of Cedar Shores including some interesting events, facts and changes that have taken place since it's inception.
In June of 1972 a company known as Dodge City Development, Rumsey Swallow President, had started a 300 home housing development on a 300 acre parcel where Cedar Shores Condominium Campground is now situated. Rumsey employed a schoolmate and long time friend, Wes Abbott, to head up the project. This was undeveloped land with heavy undergrowth, large hardwoods and tag elder marshes. Two of these marshes were visualized by Wes to be what are now our two ponds. A dragline and bulldozer were used to excavate the muck, creating the approximately five to seven foot deep, connected ponds. The excavated muck formed the hill behind these ponds. The over-flow from two of our three wells empties into the ponds. Flowing springs, swamp and marshlands were all part of the parcel. A jeep had to be used to gain access to much of the area. During the summers of 1972, 1973, and 1974, two bulldozers, one drag- line and one backhoe worked continuously clearing the land, cutting roads and clearing many felled trees. Two lagoons were excavated on 40 acres and were awaiting clay for lining and approximately 1800 Ft. of sewer line was laid. The home located at Townline Lake Rd. and Cedar Shores Dr. and our "Grey House" were to be model homes in the housing project. In the fall of 1974 the housing development project was terminated.
In 1975 the decision to construct a campground was made. In 1976 Cedar Shores Campground opened with about 66 Rental Campsites along the shores of Townline Lake. By the fall of the same year, approximately 133 Rental Campsites were completed. By the spring of 1977 all Campsites were rented out on an annual basis.
In November of 1979, Cedar Shores Ltd., Rumsey Swallow, President made plans, to convert the campground to a condominium project, with three phases of construction on a five year schedule. The first phase was the original 133 sites.
Early in 1980 the condominium concept was presented to the renters. By the time the camping season ended in October, about 66 renters had placed their deposit to be the first to own part of Cedar Shores Condominium Campground.
Phase two started in the spring of 1981 with about 174 sites. Phase three, with about 71 sites, would begin in the fall of the same year.
Construction progress and lot sales far exceeded expectations with almost 92 % of the 378 lots sold by the fall of 1982.
Cedar Shores Condominium Campground comprises about 90.5 Acres in Hamilton and Hayes Townships. This is total land, including the 378 owner lots, and common grounds.
The park association has ownership of Cedar Shores Drive from Townline Lake Rd to the park entrance, however the actual campground boundary begins at the gate on Cedar Shores Dr.. Property owners fronting on this section of Cedar Shores Drive, before the gate, have easements granted for ingress and egress to their property. The association maintains this and all other roads in the park on a year round basis.
Thanks to Wes Abbott for providing this interesting information about the beginning years of our park. Wes was our first park manager and served in that capacity to September 1982. His vast knowledge of our park has been most helpful to many of us.
Many events, improvements and significant changes have taken place in Cedar Shores since it's inception in 1980. Some of the more pertinent follow in chronological order.
Cedar Shores Campground is governed by the following items: Applicable laws of the State of Michigan, our Consolidating Master Deed, By-Laws issued by the Department of Commerce, Association Articles Of Incorporation, Cedar Shores Association By-Laws and duly adopted Rules & Regulations of the Association.
A Board Of Directors consisting of seven (7) volunteer members are elected (terms vary) at the annual meeting. The responsibility of the board is to manage the park, hire employees, as well as assure proper compliance to Federal, State, Local, and Association Rules And Regulations as outlined in our By-Laws and related documents. In addition to the board, committees comprised of volunteer members are Architectural, Beautification, Election , Recreation, Rules, Safety, and Welcome. These folks help in many ways to keep the park safe, provide social events, assist park personnel, by giving of their time and talents to continually improve Cedar Shores for all to enjoy.
Many members question the logic to the lot numbering system used in Cedar Shores. In reality, it began at the start of our park with the three phases of construction mentioned in the beginning section of this writing. Using a current copy of a park map for reference, will help in understanding the explanation that follows:
Phase One (Lot#1 Thru Lot#135) begins on Aspen Drive (East of the walkway, N. End of Oak Dr.) East to Spruce Drive, then along the canal to Beech Drive, ending at Maple Dr., including most of the lots bordering the West side of Elm Dr.
Phase Two (Lot# 136 Thru Lot# 271) includes the remainder of the lots North & South of Maple Dr. all the way West to include lots bordering the East-West and North-South legs of Birch Dr.
Phase Three (Lot# 272 Thru Lot# 378) includes most of the lots West of the North South leg of Birch Dr. (At Small Pond), and West of Cedar Shores Dr. (At Large Pond). Those lots on Aspen Dr., West of Oak Dr. as well as all lots on Pine Dr. (Lower Level).
A "Buffer Zone", surrounding our park, consisting of "Commons Area", was included in the planning of Cedar Shores. During the construction of Phase Two, many yards of sand was removed from the surface of the buffer zone at the South East Side of Oak Dr., South West of the boat launch area. The surface material removal created the depression in that area. The "Fill" was hauled by dump trucks and used for some sites on Pine Dr., to cover stumps where trees had been removed.
Bulldozers were used to "cut" the hill and push the sand toward Townline Lake to form the upper level section of Pine Dr., creating the eight bordering lots.
Our first Cedar Shores Official Rules & Regulations publication was September 15, 1980.
The very first lot owners had their electric included in the maintenance fee. That soon changed! In May of 1982, electric meters were installed on each lot to measure and bill for electrical power consumed.
Beginning in 1981 campground news and information was mailed to each lot owner's permanent residence by way of a "Publication Of Cedar Shores Property Owners Association." This was actually our first newsletter. The May 1987 issue started the name of "Cedar Shore Log." In June it was "Cedar Shores Log", in August it was "Cedar Log", and remained that way until June 1988 when it officially became "The Cedar Log." The advent of computers changed the way The Cedar Log is edited by including the addition of graphics and photographs. Many members have volunteered countless hours, in many cases using personal equipment, to edit and publish the newsletter. The importance of the park newsletter can best be appreciated when you consider that less than 10% of our members attend the regular board meetings. This means that approximately 90% of our membership depend on receiving important park information by means of The Cedar Log.
The entire publication also appears on the World Wide Web at: www.cedarshores.org
1982 was the year Insulation, Wall Covering and Ceiling Material was installed in our Rec. Hall, by volunteer help. The Rec. Hall is used for various meetings and park & committee functions. It is also available for family events on a rental basis by scheduling at the park office.
Many of our more recent members are not aware there was a "Mini Grocery" store in our park. The store occupied the Garage at the "Red House", (now Grey House) operating for about two years, and was closed in 1984.
Two editions of Cedar Shores Official Rules & Regulations were published effective September 1, 1984. The Second Edition effective September 1, 1984 included an Addendum Notation.
Our first Street Sign material was purchased by Strawberry RV Sales and erected during 1984. Playground Swing materials were included for construction and erection using volunteer help.
Today, thanks to many previous and current owners, all Cedar Shores members continually benefit from the generosity of volunteer workers who help improve and beautify our park. Park maintenance fees are held to a minimum by reducing contractor & park labor costs, with the utilization of volunteer labor. These willing workers have completed many large projects that increase the value of our park. Lots situated in our beautiful park, with these valuable improvements, attract buyers who are anxious to be a part of Cedar Shores. Recent Welcome Committee figures indicate lot/unit turn-over to new owners are increasing each year.
The Recreation Committee purchased tables and chairs for our Rec. Hall in 1985.
As demands increased, additional Telephone Service was expanded in the park in 1985, making Telephone service available to all lots throughout the park.
Our Pole Barn, which ranks among the largest improvements, was another valuable addition, constructed in 1986 by volunteer help. It is used to house our park equipment and provides a sheltered work area for park personnel to perform preventative maintenance and repairs to park machinery.
Volunteers constructed the Pavilion Addition to the Recreation Hall in 1987. Again, a major project, benefiting all members with the use of Recreation funds. The May 1986 Cedar Shores Newsletter indicates a discussion occurred outlining the merits for constructing the Pavilion. It contains the statement, "Complete enclosure would come much further down the line when more money is available".
Florida Rooms were allowed by Rules Change in 1987. A most welcome change allowing more room and comfort in our summer retreat.
"Hill Road" (West end of Oak St.) was closed to traffic and made a walkway from Aspen Dr. to the lower level at Pine Dr. in 1988. (Before the advent of 4 Wheel Drive SUVs)
Rules & Regulations Third Revision made on October 8, 1988.
Volunteer painters applied a fresh coat of outside paint to the Yellow Bath House in 1988.
The Recreation Committee, over the years, has donated large sums of money along with volunteer help to add many improvements in our park. These funds are, in great part, from the weekly sale of raffle tickets during the summer camping season.
Our park landscaping was improved with the addition of three Flower-Beds in 1988, by Beautification Committee volunteers. Year after year, these flowerbeds continue to provide beauty to our park with the help of dedicated hands having "Green Thumbs."
1989 was a busy year for the Recreation Committee. Volunteers installed the Spring Supported Animals & the Challenge Ladder at the children's playground, and a second Basketball Backstop & Hoop. Energetic volunteers constructed a new set of Steps to the lower level, all in the same season.
The Recreation Committee held an auction of donated items at the Rec. Hall, during the summer of 1990. It was an overwhelming success. The proceeds were used to purchase a much-needed Copy Machine for the office.
As our park grew, so grew our refuse. Initially, members deposited their refuse in a utility trailer used to temporally hold refuse at a central point. Park employees periodically towed it to the land-fill for disposal. Conditions changed at the land-fill and the park decided in 1989 to engage a private contractor for scheduled, refuse removal and a "Special Refuse Fee" was imposed on each lot owner. Eventually this Fee was added to the Expense area of the budget and became a service included our Maintenance Fee.
For many years, various Cedar Shores board members struggled to solve a serious electrical problem that plagued lot owners from the early beginning of our park. The inadequate supply of electrical power provided by the original three transformers supplying power to each lot grew more severe as increased demands were made by the influx of larger park model trailers. During peak holiday usage, it was not uncommon for voltage to drop to 85 volts in owner units located at the end of the overloaded circuits. At the September 1989 Annual Meeting, a "Special Assessment" was approved, (largest to date), to launch an electrical up-grading recommended by an area electrical contractor. This assessment was to be used for replacement of the three original transformers, and include limited circuit splits. After one of the transformers was replaced, the contractor advised the board that replacement of the remaining two transformers would exceed the original estimate. Work was immediately halted and the contractor was released.
Within a short time, a thorough, in-depth study of the entire situation was conducted, utilizing volunteer expertise. Thorough investigation revealed replacing the transformers was not necessary. An entirely new, detailed plan was designed. Several out of town electrical contractors were contacted to submit estimates for this revised project. At the 1990 Annual Meeting, a second "Special Assessment" was approved, and added to the remaining first assessment, for this extensive improvement. The contractor was selected and work began. The two original transformers were retained and three new ones were added in the up-grade. At project completion, a total of six transformers now doubled our original system. High voltage lines were extended to the additional three transformers, many new circuits were added and existing ones were split, using a significant amount of wire. After this major improvement, the required 117 volts was now available to all lots. Members were cautioned, at several board meetings, that this improvement was not intended to support the addition of large, power consuming appliances such as air conditioners. This extensive electrical up-grade was completed in the spring of 1991.
1991 was the year a cement floor was poured in the Pole Barn to improve inside working conditions. This presented a much cleaner working area for park employees.
Several additional Beautification volunteer projects that added much beauty to our park, was the Bridge at the large pond, constructed in 1991 and an additional Set of Steps to the lower level. (Located at N. End of Oak St.). Water & Flood Lights were added at the Welcome Flower Bed during this same season.
An attempt to change our Association By-Laws was made in 1991, but the proposed change failed to receive the required 66 2/3 votes. The voting was conducted by mailing ballots to each member.
Originally, outside accounting/bookkeeping firms performed much our park financial record keeping, including payroll. In 1991 our park began limited, "In-House", accounting, with the purchase of our first computer. Eventually, all financial recording, including payroll, was conducted "In-House". The entire system, including product selection, configuring, and operator training was done with volunteer help.
In June of 1992, Recreation Funds and volunteer help were combined to construct a Lighted Putting Green, on the Commons Area, across from the Grey House. The Green required and received considerable attention to proper care and maintenance by volunteer members. Following the installation of our Putt-Putt Course, thePutting Green received less attention and a decision for removal was made in May of 1996. The lights were removed and installed at the Shuffle Board Court.
Thanks to volunteers, the inside of the Rec. Hall was painted in 1992.
1992 saw the start of the BathHouse wall & floor tile improvements. All three BathHouses received Ceramic Wall Tile and Vinyl floor tile. These improvements were completed using contractor and volunteer labor in 1993.
A rule change in 1992 permitted members to use Golf Carts in Cedar Shores. Beginning about 1997, the proliferation of golf carts had reached a level to prompt members to demand stricter regulation with greater concentration on rule enforcement for golf carts. This started the most lengthy discussions and controversy regarding regulations that were ever encountered in the history of Cedar Shores. At every board meeting, constant discussions and motions created various rule changes that continued well into the year 2000. At that time, final golf cart rules were agreed upon, including changes petitioned by ATV owners, which resulted in revising current ATV rules so their regulation would be the same as the golf carts.
We should all be proud of our Sea-Wall at the boat launch area. It ranks among the largest volunteer project to be constructed, to date. This enormous project added much value to the assets of our park and was completed in 1993.
During 1993 volunteers constructed a Fire Ring, near the Recreation Hall. It was anticipated this Fire Ring would be enjoyed by members, young and old, sharing a group campfire.
A donated fuel oil furnace was installed, during this same season, in the pole barn. This welcome addition provides better working conditions so repairs & preventative maintenance to our park vehicles can be performed on a year round basis.
The park "Red House" became the "Grey House" in 1994 with the Vinyl Re-Siding improvement.
Rules & Regulations Fourth Revision was made in 1994.
One of the most used and enjoyed additions, constructed with Recreation Committee funds, was the Putt-Putt Golf Course installation by volunteers in 1994.
1994 was the year Numbered Storage Tags were introduced to help control our limited storage areas. This Tag System was designed to maintain pertinent information concerning the owners of stored units on the park computer. Storage, and control, of the various types of owner, wheeled, vehicles continue to be a major, unresolved problem.
After many years of debating about "Perk" tests at board meetings, the installation of, coin operated Washers and Dryers at the Green BathHouse materialized in 1995. The revenue from usage is applied to the equipment lease expense and the remainder is added to the income of the park.
All park members benefit from the sizeable expenditure during 1995 by the Recreation Committee for the addition of the Shuffle Board Court. An independent contractor did the cement work. Volunteers painted the lines and constructed the storage cabinet and benches. Lighting was soon added to the project to extend usage time.
1997 was the year our Rules & Regulations were revised for the Fifth time.
The 3 covered beach benches located at the boat launch, commons, and beach areas were constructed & installed by volunteers during the 1997 season, using Recreation Funds.
During 1997, Park labor was used to construct & install the Railing for our walkways. The materials for these rails were purchased with Recreational funds.
In 1998, Park labor also constructed & installed the Railing at both beaches. The Recreation Committee purchased the treated material for this project.
Our children and grandchildren enjoy the addition of the expansive Play-Scape, at the children's playground, installed by volunteers in 1998. This was a major playground improvement by the recreation Committee.
A sound system was purchased with Recreation funds and installed by volunteer help in 1998 at the Recreation Hall. This system is used during Sunday coffee hour, inside/outside meetings and special occasions. It is housed in a custom made, donated cabinet.
The term "Y2K" was fast becoming a part of everyone's vocabulary in 1998. A volunteer computer committee began the process to up-grade the park computer system. It was not only to be Y2K compliant, but assure the ability to the handle more complex park finance reports and programs. A new computer & color printer was purchased and installed by the committee in 1999.
Our park office received a "Face Lift" in 1999 with a fresh coat of paint, new carpeting and furniture. This much-needed improvement was done with the combined efforts of, contractor, park and volunteer labor.
During the 1999 season, the Recreation Committee purchased treated lumber & related materials for volunteer construction and installation of eight benches. These are located around the park for the enjoyment of all members.
The park originally started with 2 water wells. One (6") is a flowing well and was used as our main water supply. As the years passed, several expensive repairs and improvements were done to the main well as well as the smaller (4") well. It became apparent a third well had to be drilled. In 2000 a new flowing well was drilled near the existing two, that now supplies our park with plenty of pure water. The original well overflows into the Large Pond and the newest 6 inch well overflows into the Small Pond.
New, Reflecting, Metal Street Signs were installed at park street intersections in 2000. This improvement provides several advantages. Visitors will be able to locate friends much easier by using street name location rather than lot number only. Emergency vehicles will also reach their destination quicker.
Late in the 2000 season, Recreation funds were used to purchase new kitchen cabinets, including new counter tops and electrical wall outlets. Volunteer labor was used to make this valuable improvement. We now have a beautiful kitchen for our park members to enjoy for many years.
During the final weeks of October 2000, a contractor was hired to install forms and pour Fiber-Glass reinforced concrete around the Putt-Putt course. This improvement is intended to provide a solid surface area around the course and help eliminate the stones on the playing surface. Recreational monies were utilized to complete this project.
Since the beginning of Cedar Shores as a Condominium Campground, the following persons have been employed as Park Managers: (Wes Abbott 1980 - 1982), (Bud Kerns 1982 - 1986), (Clem Henry 1986 - 1989), (Ed McDiarmid 1989 - Present).
Office Secretaries: (Cathy Starkweather 1982 - 1984?), (Sandy Musgrove 1984? -1986?), (Melodie Henry 1986 - 1989), (Wanda McDiarmid 1989 - Present).
It was apparent, early on, when compiling information for this writing, the word VOLUNTEER continually appeared. Volunteering by young and old, past and present, is clearly why Cedar Shores Campground is above average in many ways. It is not possible to list the individual names of all the countless volunteers who contributed so much to our park in their own special way. Our appreciation and expression of thanks to them, past and present, can best be shown by continuing the tradition of "Giving Back To The Park" by giving of ourselves, volunteering our time and talents, in any way we can. The reward is a feeling of pride and accomplishment that we can make a difference to improve our park for all to enjoy.
Park improvements have been largely contingent on the contributions of our members to the Recreation and Beautification Committees, through the continued purchasing of raffle tickets, and other limited, revenue-producing activities. In most cases, the items purchased with these funds, offer a lasting, visible improvement, providing useful additions for all members to enjoy. Certainly, a positive method for members to "Give Back" to their park.
Members are needed to fill the continuing need of volunteers for the many exciting and rewarding openings in all phases of our park. This is your opportunity to be a willing partner in making a positive difference in the operation of Cedar Shores Campground. Be an active member by regularly attending and participating in board meetings and joining one or more of the committees. -- Volunteer today.
- Tom Finn -