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Kudos to township for making smart choice on Mercury Park rink

Tribune Staff • Jul 13, 2017 at 2:00 PM

Two months ago, it sounded nearly certain that the inline hockey rink at Mercury Park was going to be removed in favor of new pickleball courts.

The Grand Haven Township rink received a stay of execution from the township officials on July 10 when it was decided that minor repairs should be made to the rink. The choice extends the life of the rink for another few years while usage can be watched much closer.

We have to take our hats off to the township in making this decision after it was announced earlier that it would be installing pickleball courts. We commend officials for listening to the concerns of the inline hockey community who don’t want the rink to be removed.

Community inline hockey players banded together and created an online petition, organized a rally at the rink and spoke at numerous public meetings in support of keeping the rink. The inline community also says they plan to organize leagues and other events at the rink to help increase the use and spread the love of hockey.

We tip our hats to these folks for their hard work in support of a cause they believe in, and for becoming civically engaged at a young age.

The timing of the decision is also a plus for the township, which is in the middle of its Hofma Vision project. By waiting to make a long-term decision on Mercury Park, officials can see if any of the uses — be it pickleball or inline hockey — would be better served at a new location.

While some could view Monday night’s choice as just a bandage fix, it still gives the township time to weigh its options and determine if the rink’s use is worth the investment in a more expensive solution.

If the inline hockey players are able to increase the use of the facility, and more people get interested in the sport and take advantage of the rink, perhaps a major overhaul would be worth it.

If not, then we think it would be best for the township to make the choice that would benefit the most residents in the community, whether that be pickleball, a multipurpose grass field or some other recreational amenity.

Our Views reflects the majority opinion of the members of the Grand Haven Tribune editorial board: Kevin Hook, Matt DeYoung, Alex Doty and Mark Brooky. What do you think? E-mail us a letter to the editor to news@grandhaventribune.com or log-in to our website and leave a comment below.

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