NORA decides to hold off on millage plan

Alex Doty • Jul 21, 2015 at 2:51 PM

The local recreation authority’s board on Thursday decided unanimously not to put the proposal on the ballot.

“If we’re going to do this right, we are going to have to cover all of our bases,” board member Mike Fritz said.

NORA represents communities in Grand Haven Area Public Schools’ boundaries: Grand Haven city and township, Robinson Township, and Ferrysburg.

The board envisions a millage that would help fund a new recreation complex that could have outdoor sports fields and a fitness trail, indoor courts, a fitness room, and locker rooms. It’d be located on a yet-to-be-determined site of 80-100 acres.

“We don’t have property right now,” Fritz noted. “In order to do what we need to do, we need $10 million to $15 million. We know what we need — it’s just 'where' is the big question.”

NORA representatives say they’re keeping their options open for a site in Northwest Ottawa County. Board member Karl French said having a site too far north or south would be taxing for people who live in outlying areas.

“It has to be centrally located for everyone to buy into the (facility), in my opinion,” French said.

With the millage on hold, board members said they will work with neighboring communities and like-minded organizations such as the YMCA — and also pursue additional sources of funding, such as a building authority.

“A building authority would be a stand-alone entity on its own,” NORA design consultant Pam Blough said.

The decision comes after Grand Haven Township trustees recently recommended that the proposal not appear before voters this November.

Read the complete story in today’s print or e-edition of the Grand Haven Tribune.

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