NORA sets sights on levy

The North Ottawa Recreation Authority continues to research a plan that would put a millage proposal before voters for funding a new recreation complex.
Alex Doty
Feb 17, 2014

“Having a voter-approved millage was part of the reasons for becoming a recreation authority recognized by the state,” NORA Coordinator Jill Vander Stel said.

Annually, the authority provides more than 100 programs to more than 8,700 residents of the Grand Haven school district. Programs are for both children and adults.

The authority's annual operations budget of a little more than $300,000 provides enough for operational expenses, staffing and programming, but there’s not enough for major facility expenses.

Authority Chairman Craig Bessinger said the act that created the ability to have a recreation authority allows for a millage proposal during a state general or primary election. 

There are statewide elections in August and November this year — otherwise, the next opportunity is in 2016. The filing deadline to place a millage request on the ballot this November is July 29.

Bessinger said the NORA board is working on a proposal, but are not yet certain when it will be on the ballot. The board is working on a plan that can be shown to residents to explain the specifics of such a proposal. 

“NORA has held focus meetings with local recreational groups to gain feedback on what they would like to see in recreational activities, as well as types of fields needed in the area," he said.

The board recently hired Pam Blough to help prepare documents detailing what the millage would be used for and what type of levy would support the authority's goals, Vander Stel said.

The authority envisions a recreational site of between 80 and 100 "buildable" acres.

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



I'll only vote for it if it has a curling rink, or court, or whatever they call those things.

Say no to new taxes

Tax, tax, and more tax. When does it end?

Vast Right Wing...

Vote NO on any new taxes!


Nope, this is a case of redundancy. No more Taxes.

Barry Soetoro

If there was a demand for this in the Tri Cities it would have already been built!



Barry Soetoro

You're still reeling about the Jerry L. thing.


Think of the t-shirt potential...

Former Grandhavenite

I don't remember there being such an organization "back in my day". The schools had different days that the pool and gym were open to the public. Sports groups like AYSO, Little Leagues, bowling leagues at Starlight Lanes, etc typically handled these type of recreational events. 5k and 10k road races were frequently organized by different groups as well, and of course there's the famous lake swim race every summer on the north side. Also the public was generally welcome to use the tennis court, track, and other outdoor facilities at the schools (I sure hope that hasn't changed for the worse, although I wouldn't be surprised given the way things were headed). The YMCA is of course also an option, or if you're willing to drive a bit to a truly awesome facility the GVSU fieldhouse and main YMCA in downtown GR are both really nice. I prefer free weights over machines and so many places fall into the trap of not having enough benches or enough cages for doing squats. I can't say enough good about the Mulligan's Hollow ski bowl as well. It's truly a unique asset to the area and I practically grew up out there. I always was in a rush to finish my paper route after school to get in a couple hours at the hill.

Is this NORA organization a new thing? It seems to be related to the GHAPS district although this article doesn't really get into the details. My standard advice to anyone who "hates winter" is that you should really embrace it instead of trying to avoid it. Pick up a winter sport/hobby. You don't have to be highly skilled or in great shape to snowshoe for example, and the bunny hill makes it very possible to ease into skiing/boarding. I don't know anything about ice fishing but a lot of people seem to have fun out there. Snowmobiling is also completely awesome and the sensation of speed is much better in comparison to driving a car. This obviously doesn't work for folks with health issues, etc so I can totally understand why they're not fans of winter however.

Tri-cities realist

It used to be called NORP (program). It's been around since 1998. It is affiliated with GHAPS, although according to a 2009 article on MLive "Under state law, Grand Haven Area Public Schools cannot be a formal part of the authority because it cannot share millage funds with municipalities, but it can enter into contracts with the authority and continue to offer in-kind contributions."


I'll most definitely vote yes!


It is not fair to tax everyone for the enjoyment of a few. This would be similar to the taxing of all residents to pay for school sports very unfair. I would definitely vote no on this and encourage everyone else I know to vote no as well. If you like to play you should pay and if you choose not to play you should not have to pay so that others can.

Tri-cities realist

So does this also apply to band, or choir, or any of the other "electives" offered by the schools?


Let the special interest recreation groups pay for the recreation they want, not all of us tax payers. Enough is enough!


I never drive on Mercury Dr. Take the funding for that road off my tax bill! The special interest driving groups can pay for it. I havn't been to Hofma Park in years either, shut it down. I'll only pay taxes for the stuff I use. Everyone else is on your own.
Ahhhhhh..... if only it worked that way!

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