New Service Announcement! LiDAR

Nowak & Fraus Engineers (NFE) is excited to announce the addition of a new service: Surveying and Mapping using LiDAR. LiDAR, which stands for Light Detection and Ranging, is a method used to determine distances from objects or surfaces by emitting light and then calculating the time it takes for the reflected light to return to the receiver. LiDAR technology has various applications in surveying, archaeology, forestry, and space exploration.

LiDAR sensors in the surveying and mapping field can be aerial-based, UAV-based, terrestrial, or vehicle-mounted. Each setup has its advantages and disadvantages. Many products in the market cater to the user’s specific needs for accuracy, precision, and efficiency in terms of cost and time. NFE has recently acquired the state-of-the-art Trimble MX50 vehicle-mounted sensor with AP60 IMU (Inertial Measurement Unit). Trimble MX50 has the capability of collecting 1.5 million points per second in 3D with vehicular speeds up to 68 miles an hour. The AP60 IMU ensures we can take advantage of the total, high-powered GNSS-inertial processing needed for precise and accurate survey grade point cloud. We have successfully performed large site topographical surveys under heavy tree cover and multiple corridor surveys while achieving horizontal accuracy of up to 0.02’ and vertical accuracy of up to 0.02’.

Since the Geospatial Department received the Mobile LiDAR from Seiler Geospatial, we have successfully scanned 26.5 miles of Right-of-Way corridors.

With the introduction of our new LiDAR service, the Geospatial Department has significantly reduced its turnover time, freeing up traditional survey crews. This enhanced efficiency to meet our clients’ deadlines while maintaining the NFE field standards for accuracy and quality, a win-win situation for all.

New Location Alert!

Nowak and Fraus Engineers (NFE), an engineering and surveying firm Headquartered in Pontiac, Michigan, with offices in Detroit and Shelby Township, is excited to announce the opening of a new office in Van Buren County, Michigan. This expansion will enable NFE to carry out our vision to build an elite workforce to allow us to expand upon our great reputation so we may become the premier professional services provider in the Great Lakes region.

23952 City Center Cir
Mattawan, MI 49071

NFE’s Mission is to leverage emerging technologies, quality resources, and expert staff through a sustainable and value-driven approach to assist our clients in achieving their goals and visions while providing a positive impact in the communities we live and work.  The new office location supports that mission, and we look forward to providing uncompromised value-driven quality, steadfast reliability, and outstanding experiences to our west Michigan clients.

NFE is working on several important projects in western Michigan, including the Kal-Haven Trail, the Van Buren Trail, Kent County Road Commission, Michigan State Police Walker MI Consolidation, Lakeland Correctional Facility, and Muskegon Correctional Facility, to name a few.  With over 55 years of experience, NFE has built a strong reputation for delivering quality civil engineering, land planning, land surveying, and geospatial engineering services. Our commitment to excellence and client satisfaction is unwavering, and we are excited to extend this commitment to our west Michigan clients through our new office location.

Check out some of the projects we’ve already finished on the west side of Michigan!

NFE ACEC Award Announcement 2024

B_ACEC 2024 Event Photography_75

Nowak & Fraus Engineers (NFE) is excited to announce that the American Council of Engineering Companies of Michigan (ACEC) has granted us two Engineering Merit Awards on Saturday, March 9th, 2024. The awards were given for our work on two projects: The Central Complex Headquarters for the Kent County Road Commission in Walker, Michigan, and Phase Three of South Old Woodward Avenue.

NFE and Hobbs + Black Architects were selected by the Kent Country Road Commission to provide development and architecture services for a 29-acre parcel. NFE took care of all necessary land surveying and civil engineering services. The project involved constructing five buildings, including an administration building, a garage, a salt storage facility, a cold storage facility, and a vehicle wash.

The third and final phase of the major downtown renovations in Birmingham involved modernizing the utility and streetscape along a 0.40-mile stretch. This $10 million project included improvements to pedestrian safety and amenities, in addition to implementing stormwater management and green infrastructure solutions. These initiatives align with Birmingham's objectives of making the city more walkable and sustainable.

Congratulations to every team member and individual who put in their time, effort, and dedication into both projects.

To learn more about these projects, please visit the links below.



Award Page - https://www.acecmi.org/2024-ese-projects.html

ACEC PR Release - AmericanCouncilEngineeringMIASSOC_9670_ACECMichigan_2024_ExcellenceAwards_PressRelease.pdf

Kent County Road Commission New Complex - https://nfe-engr.com/kent-county-road-commission-walker-michigan-new-central-complex-headquarters/

Phase Three of South Old Woodward Ave. - https://nfe-engr.com/phase-3-woodward-completed/



Kent County Road Commission – Walker Michigan New Central Complex Headquarters

Kent County Road Commission (KCRC) is Michigan’s second-largest road commission, serving 21 townships and more than 635,000 residents. KCRC purchased a 29-acre parcel in the Walker View Industrial Park to build a new central complex facility. They had outgrown their Downtown Grand Rapids facility, built in 1923, and needed more room to expand.

Nowak & Fraus (NFE) served as the Civil Engineering Consultant on the project, responsible for site planning, geotechnical investigations, environmental permitting and leading the team through the project entitlement process. The uniqueness of this project directly relates to the complexity of the site constraints including: 52-feet of elevation change across the site, regulated wetlands jetting into the property, perched/high groundwater conditions, contaminated soils, and three high-tension transmission lines within a 165-foot-wide utility corridor bisecting the property. NFE worked very closely with multiple vendors to fully develop a viable site plan, obtain site plan approval through the City of Walker, prepare construction documents, obtain approvals from permitting agencies, obtain approvals from regulatory agencies, and bring the project through a multi-phased construction process.

The project highlights include:

  • 37,000 SF Administration Building
  • 150,000 SF Maintenance Garage
  • Covered Fueling Station
  • 5,152 SF Vehicle Wash Building
  • 21,500 SF – 6,000-Ton Salt Storage Building
  • 17,500 SF Cold Storage Building
  • Material Storage Areas
  • 37 Visitor and 222 Secure Staff Parking Spaces with Landscape/Irrigation Pond and Employee Patio

Phase Three of South Old Woodward Ave. Completed

Nowak and Fraus Engineers (NFE) had the honor of serving the City of Birmingham as prime engineering consultant for the South Old Woodward Avenue Reconstruction Project, which was Phase 3 of the City’s comprehensive downtown streetscape and infrastructure reconstruction. Phase 3 was intended to modernize the southern portion of the City’s vibrant downtown. A traffic-calming road diet, wider sidewalks and crosswalks, additional mid-block crossings, extensive ADA accessibility upgrades, and a high-contrast lighting layout at pedestrian crossings enhanced pedestrian safety. The streetscape design was also intended to provide amenities, including bus stop shelters, bike racks, moped parking spaces, and accommodations for future EV parking spaces. Overall aesthetics throughout the corridor are greatly enhanced by various “pocket park” areas that feature decorative curb islands, granite benches, landscaping, and trees.

Project highlights include:

  • 10,500 Square yards of concrete pavement
  • 8,500 Square yards of concrete sidewalks
  • 76 Exposed aggregate raised curb
  • Landscape & tree planters
  • 6,300 Plantings
  • Pavement markings
  • Signage
  • Reduced imperviousness
  • An equivalent length of nearly seven miles of underground utilities
  • 100-Foot-Wide Right-of-Way of Old Woodward Avenue, consisting of water main, combined sewer main, storm drains, storm detention, sanitary and water building services, legacy fiber conduit, street lighting, electrical system, and irrigation system
Maple Road Resurfacing

Maple Road Resurfacing

The City of Birmingham contracted with NFE for the resurfacing of Maple Road from Cranbrook Road to Southfield Road. This 1.29 mile stretch of Maple Road was last resurfaced in 1998, and was in poor condition. The City obtained a federal grant to pay for 80% of the cost, and this was an MDOT 3R project. As part of the work, new ADA compliant ramps were installed, as well as concrete curb and sewer repair improvements. Also, Maple Road underwent a “road diet” on the final striping phase from a four-lane road to a three-lane road (designated turn-lane) that received great public scrutiny and yet positive success.

NFE was lead consultant and provided a wide range of services, including right-of-way and topographic surveys, engineering plans, construction administration (both office and field), construction staking, and as-builts surveys of construction utilities.

Construction was completed in two phases. The first phase focused on handicap ramps and local street approach repairs. The second phase was for the actual resurfacing of the road that required complete road closure.

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O’Neal Lake Dam Restoration

O’Neal Lake Dam failed in September of 2014 due to heavy rains. In November of that same year, NFE was retained by the Department of Technology Management and Budget (DTMB) and the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) to investigate the failure of the dam and come up with options to repair it.

The dam was installed in 1952 by the DNR to aid in both water control and to develop a habitat for wildlife. O’Neal Lake is approximately 150 acres in size, and surrounded by Wilderness State Park and privately-owned land. Once the dam failed the lake dried up.

After careful study and evaluation of the dam, NFE proposed five options for repairing the control structure. The Cut-Off Wall/Control Structure Installation option was chosen by DTMB/DNR because it was creating basically a new dam with a 50-year-life expectancy and with minimal maintenance. This option entails placing steel pilings to form a wall in front of the existing dam and filling in between, along with repairing the pedestrian and snowmobile wood crossing. The old dam was retrofitted with a new deck and railings to accommodate an important pedestrian crossing within Wilderness State Park.

NFE prepared engineering plans for demolition, structure improvement, area earthwork, boat launch improvements and construction documents. After DTMB/DNR secure funding for the project, construction started in October 2017, and is expected to be completed spring 2018. NFE also provided both office and site construction administrative services. NFE is proud to be involved with this project that will bring the lake back to the area and its residents, while restoring boating, fishing and a haven for wildlife.

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Historic Parkridge Homes Redevelopment

NFE provided civil engineering and land surveying services for the redevelopment of Parkridge Homes located in Ypsilanti, Michigan. This development was part of a $34 million City of Ypsilanti and Ypsilanti Housing Commission effort to overhaul the city’s public housing.

Parkridge Homes were originally built in 1943 to supply temporary barracks-style housing to African-American workers who arrived in Ypsilanti to work at the Willow Run Bomber Assembly Plant during WWII. Despite the intended temporary nature of the 80-unit development, Partridge Homes were converted to public housing in the early 1950’s and remained in use until demolition began in July 2016 to make way for a new 86-unit apartment development.

The new low-income development, Parkridge Apartments, is comprised of townhomes that incorporate a “new urbanism” concept, along with a street grid that reconnects to the surrounding community. The street-facing townhomes include porches, sidewalks, driveways, yards and open spaces with a playground, grilling area and urban gardens.

In 2013, NFE provided an ALTA/ACSM Land Title survey of the property, and in 2016, provided topographic, boundary and tree surveys, as well as engineering plans for demolition, site, paving and grading, utility design, drainage, soil erosion and storm calculations. Next, we supplied construction documents, and was retained by the general contractor to provide construction staking services.

The result was new and improved low-income housing for Ypsilanti residents that is safer and integrates better into the surrounding community.

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Heartland Healthcare New Nursing & Rehabilitation Centers

HCR ManorCare is a national provider of healthcare centers specializing in short-term and long-term nursing and rehabilitation services. The healthcare centers operate under the name of Heartland in the state of Michigan. HCR ManorCare has been a client of NFE since the 1990’s.

NFE provided professional land surveying, civil engineering and landscape architecture services for the new centers in the cities of Sterling Heights, Canton, Flushing and Troy. Most of the facilities are two-story buildings, and are landscaped with inviting outdoor environments per the landscape architecture plans by NFE. NFE was responsible for all civil engineering plans, including demolition, paving/grading, utility, storm drainage, soil erosion control, sanitary sewer and water main. Construction documents were also provided for the civil engineering portions of each center.

Other services have included civil engineering for additions to existing centers in Sterling Heights, Allen Park, and two in West Bloomfield. NFE also has provided numerous site analysis and infrastructure evaluations on properties that in the end HCR ManorCare chose not to develop.

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Flex-N-Gate Manufacturing Facility Development

Flex-N-Gate is a leading manufacturer and supplier of components for the automotive industry. The company purchased a 30-acre plot of land on Detroit’s east side with plans to build a manufacturing facility to supply automotive parts to Ford Motor Company. This parcel of land is a part of the Detroit Economic Growth Corporation’s I-94 Industrial Corridor Park, for which NFE previously provided ALTA/NSPS land title surveys, topographic surveys, underground utility surveys and other consulting services.

Under the ownership of Flex-N-Gate, NFE performed additional surveying services to complete a comprehensive boundary and topographic survey to support the development of the 480,000-square-foot manufacturing facility. Additionally, NFE was retained by the IBI Group, architect for the project, to perform site planning and prepare construction drawings for all proposed site infrastructure required for the full development of the site, including utility relocation, sewer relocations, paving and grading, water main and landscape design. NFE also provided construction assistance throughout the construction process, including construction layout for three different contractors.

Ground breaking for the facility was on April 24, 2017 with construction completed in October 2018. The manufacturing facility is big part of Detroit’s growing I-94 Industrial Park and is attracting more manufacturing jobs back to the City.

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Du Charme Place Apartments New Lifestyle Community

Du Charme Place, located in Detroit’s historic Lafayette Park, is a new apartment development, and the neighborhood’s first new lifestyle community in over 40 years. NFE provided professional land surveying and civil engineering services for the development. The work comprised of ALTA, boundary and topographic surveys; demolition plan; site plan; paving and utility design; soil erosion plan; and construction documents.

The development features four buildings with a total of 185 luxury apartments that border a second-story courtyard area with a walking path and nearby pool. All four buildings stand three stories tall atop a first-floor garage/lobby area.

NFE provided construction staking and layout services for the development, and also consulted with the construction and design teams helping to resolve construction issues that arose during the building process.

NFE is proud to have been the land surveyor and civil engineer of record for this residential development that honors the integrity of Lafayette Park and its history.

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City of Royal Oak E. Fourth Street Corridor Upgrade

The City of Royal Oak contracted with NFE to provide land surveying, engineering design and construction engineering services for the East Fourth Street Corridor Upgrade from Main Street to Campbell Road project. The project was funded by both the DDA and CDBG for streetscape expansions. The City felt Fourth Street need streetscape improvements to spur investment and make the street connect more with the downtown area.

Construction engineering services included the preparation of contract bid documents, construction plans, specifications, and cost estimates. The scope of work included:

  • Lighting system replacement and upgrades for decorative street lights
  • Sidewalk and curb replacement with decorative concrete sidewalk and new curbs and gutter
  • ADA ramp improvements
  • Landscape upgrades for ornamental trees and tree grates, along with a tree irrigation system
  • Parking lot removal and reconfiguration in median between Kayser Avenue and Alexandra Avenue
  • Rain garden installation to improve storm water management within parking lot
  • Public art installation
  • Traffic control plan for maintaining traffic during construction

The result was a successful corridor improvement project that connected Fourth Street visually and physically to the downtown area.

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City of Pontiac Martin Luther King Boulevard Reconstruction (4R)

NFE provided the City of Pontiac with preliminary engineering and construction engineering services for the administration of this 1.10-mile road reconstruction project from M-59 to Elm Street. Through this project, a deteriorated and under-capacity three-lane road was reconstructed and widened to five lanes of new concrete pavement. The project also included new storm sewer, concrete sidewalk and non-motorized facility, LED street lights and box-span traffic signals.

NFE provided preliminary engineering services including: preparation of the environmental assessment, including the evaluation of several alternatives for approval by the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) and Federal Highway Administration; preparation of right-of-way plans and administration of the right-of-way acquisition phase; topographic survey; and preparation of roadway construction plans, specifications, special provisions, and plan details in accordance with current MDOT and Federal Highway Administration requirements.

NFE also provided construction engineering services including: contract administration, construction engineering supervision, construction/technical observation (inspection), construction layout and construction staking, on-site quality control and material testing, preparation of pay estimates, preparation and evaluation of punch list work, final inspection, review of documentation for final payment, and recommendation for final acceptance of project in accordance with Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) and Federal Highway Administration guidelines and requirements using Field Book and Field Manager software.

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City of Madison Heights R-2 Residential Street Repair Program

Since 1979, NFE has continuously served as municipal engineer for the City of Madison Heights. We have provided the City with civil engineering, surveying, consulting and administration services for numerous road reconstruction, sectional road replacement and infrastructure improvement projects.

From 1997 to 2007, NFE worked with the City on a voter approved Ten Year Residential Street Repair Program (R-1) that was drastically needed to repair neighborhood roads and water main that were constructed 40 to 50 years ago.

Due to the success of the R-1 program, the residents unanimously approved a second Ten Year Residential Street Repair Program (R-2). This program provided over $17 million of new revenue to continue replacing failed residential streets and upgrading original water, sanitary and storm infrastructure.

During the R-2 program from 2007 to 2017, NFE provided right-of-way and topographic surveys, engineering construction documents including plans and specifications, advertising and bidding, construction administration, construction layout and staking, and as-built surveys for 46 streets and/or street segments. This included over 43,962 linear feet or 8.33 miles of new pavement, 40,100 linear feet of new water main and 9,500 linear feet of new storm sewer.

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Chimney Hill Condominium Improvements

Chimney Hill is a residential development in West Bloomfield Township, consisting of 142 privately-owned condominiums. The development was constructed 30 years ago, and the roads within the complex were experiencing cracking and breakage due to distress and water drainage issues. The residents petitioned the Charter Township of West Bloomfield through a Special Assessment District (SAD) to complete roadway and drainage improvements for Chimney Hill Drive, which is a private circle drive winding through the development.

West Bloomfield Township contracted with NFE to provide civil engineering and surveying services for the Chimney Hill Drive project. In addition, the Chimney Hill Condominium Association contracted with NFE to provide civil engineering and surveying services for water drainage issues, as well as rehabilitate parking areas, repave the boulevard entrance and improve the clubhouse entry area.

For both projects, NFE provided topographic surveys, utility inspection and investigation, engineering design documents, construction layout, both office and site construction administration, and as-builts. Engineering plans included demolition, road design, staging plans, storm drainage improvements, and soil erosion and sediment control. The result was multifaceted for the residents of Chimney Hill. They now have a new entrance to the complex, smooth roads to travel on, new parking areas, new club house entry, and most importantly, no standing water due to drainage issues.

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Central Michigan University New Graduate Housing

From the outset, Central Michigan University mandated LEED certification and green building measures as part of a campus-wide initiative. The project for new graduate housing featured several sustainable building techniques, including porous concrete paving in new parking facilities and a centralized rain garden as a stormwater treatment and conveyance device.

NFE was tasked with and directly responsible for stormwater management and design, sanitary and water routing, grading, pavement design, tree preservation, landscape architecture, irrigation design and erosion control measures. NFE’s services were coordinated with project architect Neumann/Smith Architecture and other consultants.

With the use of native plantings requiring less irrigation and minimal long-term maintenance, coupled with locally sourced materials and an energy-efficient building design, the project far exceeded expectations and earned LEED Platinum certification.

This successful project is an example of the quality of work, attention to detail and practical experience that NFE brings to every project. Successfully and harmoniously blending into the existing campus, one of the first University-owned housing facilities in the Midwest with a Platinum rating represents a template for future building projects on campus.

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Cass Avenue Resurfacing (Woodward Avenue to Dixie Highway)

NFE is prequalified in numerous construction, design and survey categories through MDOT. With these pre-qualifications, NFE has successfully assisted local municipalities with implementing and constructing over 50 MDOT funded projects in the past 10 years. In addition, NFE has provided services directly to MDOT for roadway construction engineering projects. One of the projects was Cass Avenue Resurfacing from Woodward Avenue to Dixie Highway in Pontiac.

Cass Avenue Resurfacing was a 3R project where the existing asphalt pavement was rehabilitated. The overall construction cost was $2,000,000. This project was completed on time and within the established budget for the project despite some very significant changes in existing conditions. The original design intent was to complete patch repairs of existing exposed concrete areas, and complete Detail 7 and Detail 8 HMA repairs in areas where existing HMA overlaid concrete pavement was; however, when milling work was completed, it was discovered that the existing concrete pavement under the HMA was in significantly deteriorated condition. This caused a substantial amount of field re-design for NFE to keep the project within the prescribed funding amount.

Overall the project was successfully completed in 2010. NFE performed all services required for full construction engineering and project closeout procedures as established by MDOT.

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Beltline Greenway Phase I and II Surveying Services

The City of Detroit Economic Growth Corporation (DEGC) contracted with NFE to prepare surveying documents to facilitate the purchase and design of properties associated with the Beltline Greenway project in the City of Detroit. Beltline Greenway when completed will be a 1.5-mile trail, for walking and biking, to connect the neighborhood to the Detroit River.

NFE prepared ALTA/NSPS Land Title Survey and topographic survey for the area between the streets of Belleview and Beaufait from Kercheval Avenue to Jefferson Avenue for the Phase I of this project. Phase II involved the preparation of ALTA/NSPS Land Title Survey, topographic survey and tree survey in the same area as Phase I but from Jefferson Avenue to the Detroit River.

The work included coordination with the City of Detroit DPS to clean all sewers within the project limits to assure existing infrastructure would support the proposed improvements.

The trail when completed will follow a former railroad called the Beltline that connected the Uniroyal site on the Riverwalk and headed North to the Gleaner’s Community Food Bank on Beaufait Street just north of Kercheval Avenue. In anticipation for this project, the City of Detroit rebuilt the East Jefferson Avenue bridge.

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2012 Downspout Disconnection Program

NFE provided the City of Pontiac with preliminary engineering and construction engineering for the administration of this roof drain and downspout disconnection project throughout the City of Pontiac. The purpose of the project was to reduce wet weather flows in the City’s sanitary sewer collection system and at the City’s wastewater treatment plant by rerouting roof drains connected to the sanitary sewer to an approved storm drainage outlet. Because this project was instrumental in eliminating or reducing the severity of sanitary sewer overflows (SSO) to the Clinton River at the City’s wastewater plant, it was approved for Surface Water Quality Initiative Funds (SWQIF) from the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ).

Preliminary engineering services included: assisting the City in the preparation of the SWQIF Project Plan and Funding Documentation for approval by the MDEQ; identifying buildings in the City with roof drains connected to the sanitary sewer through visual inspection, smoke testing and dye testing; and preparing plans, specifications and proposal documents for bidding in accordance with Michigan Department of Environmental Quality requirements.

Construction engineering services included: contract administration, construction engineering supervision, construction/technical observation (inspection), construction layout and construction staking, on-site quality control and material testing, preparation of pay estimates, preparation and evaluation of punch list work, final inspection, review of documentation for final payment, and recommendation for final acceptance of project in accordance with Michigan Department of Environmental Quality guidelines and requirements.

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Wilderness State Park Lakeshore Campground Master Plan

NFE, in collaboration with Land Design Studio, was retained by the State of Michigan Department of Technology, Management and Budget (DTMB) and the Michigan Department of Natural Resources (DNR) to conduct a comprehensive study, design and construction administration services for the redevelopment of Wilderness State Park’s Lakeshore Campground.

The campground is located in Carp Lake Township on the pristine shoreline of Lake Michigan approximately 20 miles west of Mackinaw City. The existing campground was developed in the early 1950’s and serves a very loyal group of repeat visitors who enjoy camping on the shore of Lake Michigan. It is considered one of Michigan’s most valuable resources, but needed redevelopment to meet the demands of today’s 21st Century campers and recreation enthusiasts.

NFE designed the Master Plan in close collaboration with the DTMB and DNR. Environmental factors were taken into careful consideration on all aspects of the design. On-site and on-line surveys were utilized to gather information from users and were helpful in deciding where to concentrate resources. Upon completion, the entire Lakeshore Campground was fully redeveloped complete with new utility and electrical infrastructure.

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