Recreation wish list

The North Ottawa Recreation Authority is thinking big with talks to build a possible community recreation center.
Alex Doty
Nov 29, 2013

The local recreation authority may bring to voters as early as next November a millage to build such a complex.

“Hopefully, at our Dec. 5 (board) meeting, we’ll decide what is it we’re going after, and how much,” NORA Coordinator Jill Vander Stel said.

NORA is looking at a possible 100- to 120-acre site that has yet to be purchased. This could house a future facility.

The authority has run preliminary numbers for the project. Based on a community taxable value of about $2 billion, a 0.25-mill levy could bring in $511,671 in one year, $2.5 million over five years and $5.1 million over 10 years. For a home with a taxable value of $100,000, such a levy would cost a homeowner $25 a year.

Vander Stel said a recreation complex could have outdoor sports fields and a fitness trail, indoor courts, a fitness room, and locker rooms. A new facility would address the organization’s problem of limited space, she said.

“We’ve gone to parent organizations and met with all of them,” Vander Stel said. “It all points to limited space and facilities.”

NORA’s annual operations budget of a little more than $300,000 only provides enough for operational expenses, staffing and programming. There’s not enough for major facility expenses.

The authority represents the northwest corner of Ottawa County within the Grand Haven Area Public Schools boundaries. It includes Grand Haven city and township, Robinson Township, and Ferrysburg.

Annually, the authority provides more than 100 different programs that serve more than 8,700 people. Programs are for both children and adults.

User fees, donations and sponsorships total about $200,000 and support nearly 70 percent of the authority’s budget. Local governments support the rest at just over 30 percent, or about $105,000.

While the authority has access to local school facilities, they aren’t given first priority.

“Right now, the schools get top priority with all of the facilities," said NORA board member Mike Fritz. "We try and fill in the gaps when there is no one there. They don’t always have the availability at the times we need them.”

The facility issue can rear its head during summer tournament time.

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


Barry Soetoro

Local taxpayers not local governments support the rest. The complex they describe sounds similar to the Tri-Cities Y.


NO to another tax levy. If you need funds, get them from the people who use your services, not from the other 95% who don't and more than likely wouldn't use these new facilities if and when you ever figure out what you want and where it's going to be....
Join the Y or the place out there by Pontaluna. I see dozens of playfields all over the area that are vacant 95% of the time. We've got tons of hiking trails all over the area, bike paths galore...why do you need money to supply us with what we already have?
Sorry, but I'm tired of paying for stuff I don't use.
How about a list from these NORA people as to what these 100 programs are? I don't really understand what hole it is that they're trying to fill.


They've got the 'Authority' to request millage funding now since 2010.

One line sticks out..."If the authority eventually has a millage in place, member municipalities have the option of opting out of the millage and to continue funding the authority through general funds".

And once again, I will look for you...oh, look there, a program you and the wife might be interested in - indoor walking. I read you walk.
While on their site, you can click on the links on the left side and see ALL the (100) programs available.


"And once again, I will look for you...oh, look there, a program you and the wife might be interested in - indoor walking. I read you walk."

Haha! thanks for your help BD, but I do my walking OUTside. Have zero interest in walking around in a circle, inside a building. I take my walks outside for the fresh air and a chance to shoot a couple frames with the camera. Besides....why do I need this organization to act as a middleman for this activity?

I did look at their brochure too....this was my favorite one from the list....cuz every little dutch boy and girl needs to learn this skill......


Hip Hop Basics - 3rd & 4th Grade
(school year)

How come there's no Klommpen dancing classes offered??


Sounds like money that would be well spent! The Y is crap and the younger population in the area needs a place that would encourage them to be active and give them plenty of opportunities. Plus having their programing at one location would definitely simpify things and eliminate any confusion of program locations.


haven't the local communities recently spoken against all these "added" millages in last month's elections? Enough is enough! Besides, why would anyone want to pay additional taxes for a facility the majority of us wouldn't use. And if I did want to use a recreation facility, I could just go down and join the Y. We already have a recreation center in town. Why would we want another? Sounds like excess to me.


Our community will not read between the lines on this. We will just blindly pass it, like we do everything else. What we need to ask ourselves is 1) Is there a need for this when we have the Y and other facilities who provide these same services and more; camps, gymnastics, swimming, preschool, family events, etc. and 2)When we pay for this, and fully fund it with our own hard earned money, we must recognize then that we will still have to pay to use the facility. That's right, we will pay for it to be built, and then we will again have to pay to use it. How utterly ridiculous. Why in the world would anyone pass
something as stupid as that?

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