Based on the plan approved Monday night, some of the short- and long-term visions include realigning Y Drive as it approaches the Tri-Cities Family YMCA, moving basketball courts closer to the Skate Park, and re-striping the tennis facility to allow for six pickleball and two tennis courts. In the future, the plan includes a proposal that the softball diamond be moved to allow for additional parking.
Mayor Roger Bergman said not only would the movement of the facility offer more room for parking, it would also provided an opportunity for a new softball facility.
“A softball complex with lights and seating for spectators could be a good thing to come out of this,” he said.
City officials stressed that the movement of the softball diamond was a long-term vision of the master plan, and it wouldn’t be moved until a replacement was identified.
“I wouldn’t want that to go unless there’s somewhere else to put a softball field,” Councilman Bob Monetza said.
City officials wanted to have the master plan approved in time for the next phase of the Northwest Ottawa Water System expansion project, scheduled for the spring. The project will impact the park — and officials said, by having the plan in place, it will allow the park to be put together how they want it.
Members of the local YMCA attending Monday night’s council meeting said that the lack of parking in the Mulligan’s Hollow area was hurting the center, and that including options to move the softball facility were important.
Tri-Cities Family YMCA Executive Director Dean Buntley said more than 600 people use the YMCA on a daily basis — and, to keep competitive with locations in Spring Lake and other communities, it was important to offer more parking solutions.
“The availability of parking is restricting the growth of new members,” YMCA member Robert Mersereau added.
While City Council approved the master plan, Councilman Mike Fritz said he has concerns about showing the ball diamond being removed in the future.
“Without green space, you won’t have places for activity out there,” he said.
Fritz also said more should be done to promote the use of mass transit options, such as Harbor Transit, in order to get people to and from Mulligan’s Hollow — instead of having them drive there.