Parks need money for Greenway

Alex Doty • Jul 21, 2015 at 1:19 PM

“We have a vision for this, and we’ve been working on it for a long time,” Ottawa County Parks Director John Scholtz said. “We’ve been acquiring key property along the Grand River.”

County officials estimate that it will cost about $15 million to pull all of the greenway together.

“It’s not going to be cheap,” Scholtz said. “We’ve got most of the destination property acquired.”

The trail would link the Grand River with communities from Grand Haven toward Grand Rapids. It would connect all of the county’s parks along the river.

“We think greenways are a real significant investment to the quality of life,” Scholtz said. “We think we can complete it in five years if the pieces fall together.”

Scholtz added that people have begun to rediscover the Grand River as a natural resource.

“The Grand River is a really special natural resources feature,” he said. “There’s a lot of special plants and animals in the Grand River in Ottawa County.”

To help spread the word about what they intend to do, county park officials have been in contact with the communities that would be along the trail, to "buy into" the plans, Scholtz said.

Based on the initial discussions, the county is looking at $900,000 from Georgetown Township, $650,000 from Allendale Township and $300,000 from Robinson Township. Scholtz noted that the prospects for getting this funding are mixed.

On Wednesday, county parks officials brought the trail discussion to Robinson Township leaders to get their input.

“To run the pathway along the river would not be possible along this stretch,” Scholtz said.

To read more of this story, see Saturday’s print or e-edition of the Grand Haven Tribune.

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