There was no waterfront park; and with Detroit automakers clobbered by Japan, most municipalities in Michigan were suffering economically, including Grand Haven. Under the leadership of Marge Boon, a decision was taken for a huge risk — to invest in the waterfront and hope tourists would come.
Now, imagine instead if Grand Haven, strapped for cash, had elected instead to lease the waterfront to private concerns, dividing it up among private marinas, rowing clubs and yacht clubs, and excluded the general public? In the present, Village of Spring Lake has been asked by principals of the Spring Lake Yacht Club to sign a lease that would grant that club control of that magnificent waterfront parcel of public land they have occupied since 1957 for the next three generations — 60 years.
In 1927, those 36 acres were deeded to the village by a private donor for a “park for the assembly, amusement, entertainment, education and recreation of the public” — not just for sailing elitists. This park could be refashioned along the lines of popular Pottawatomie Park in Grand Haven Township; and I am convinced become magnet, not only for locals, but for tourists, considering its magnificent vista, warm protected waters, ample room for parking and a variety of onshore amusements as well.
I call on the village to renew a short-term lease only and take the courageous path toward establishing a park that will rival any in the Tri-Cities and beyond.