Village to lose grant money for land acquisition

During a meeting filled with more emotion than approved motions, proposed land acquisition for Phase 2 of the Grand River Greenway died on the table Tuesday night. In the process, Village Council kissed a $330,000 grant goodbye, and jeopardized future Mill Point Park expansion. Following vocal opposition from Councilman Marv VandenBosch and a handful of village residents, Councilman Steve Nauta made a motion to proceed with a resolution to appropriate the local funds for potential land acquisition, but it died for the lack of anyone seconding it.
Marie Havenga
Jul 6, 2011


The lack of action means the village will not be able to accept the $330,000 state grant, which also was being counted on to purchase the parcel at the southeast corner of Exchange and School streets.

The vacant School Street land, valued at $130,000, is frequently used for overflow parking from Mill Point Park — particularly during concerts and Heritage Festival events. Bill Wipperfurth, owner of the parcel, said Tuesday night he may now be forced to sell the land for commercial or industrial development, which Wipperfurth said would put an end to public parking at that site.

“I think you’re making a horrible mistake,” Wipperfurth said.

In December 2010, the Michigan Department of Natural Resources Trust Fund committee approved a $330,000 grant for the potential purchase of 35 acres in Spring Lake, with 2,600 feet of Grand River frontage. Spring Lake Village Council had previously directed Village Manager Ryan Cotton to seek grants and budgeted $110,000 for the village’s local match.

The purchase of the nine parcels — many of them wetlands — would have preserved the land as public open space and given council more potential options for Grand River Greenway routing or walking trails, according to Cotton.

Phase 1 construction, from Village Cove Marina to the east end of Tanglefoot Park, begins in August.

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


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