Put NORA millage on Nov. ballot

Drive around Grand Haven on any given evening and you’re likely to see baseball diamonds choked with dusty ball players or soccer fields full of sweaty kids.
Jun 23, 2014


Get involved in one of the leagues that use these fields and you’ll realize that our area has a serious lack of adequate facilities for community sports.

The Northwest Ottawa Recreation Authority wants to place a recreational millage before voters on the November ballot with the intention of creating a new recreational complex.

In order for the millage to reach the ballot, all of the municipalities included — all those served by Grand Haven Area Public Schools — have to approve the plan.

Grand Haven Township has thrown a wrench in NORA’s plan. Township officials said they’re not ready to get behind the plan, citing “bad timing” as a primary reason.

We disagree. Why put off the issue for two years? There’s a need now, and voters should have a say on the issue. If they don’t feel a new recreational complex is needed, they’ll vote it down.

But perhaps voters will agree with our view that such a complex would be a big boost to our community.

Those involved with the Strikers travel soccer team have doubtless made trips to Traverse City, Midland, Kalamazoo/Portage and several Detroit suburbs for tournaments.

If things play out right, Grand Haven could host such an event, with teams from across the state flooding into the area, buying gas, filling hotel rooms and eating at restaurants.

Just look at the annual sand soccer tournament that takes place at Grand Haven State Park each summer, which drew an estimated 20,000 people to our community last July.

For a community our size, Grand Haven’s recreational athletic facilities are woefully lacking. NORA wants to do something about it, and we feel Grand Haven Township — and all other municipalities involved — should let the issue reach the November ballot.

Our Views reflects the majority opinion of the members of the Grand Haven Tribune editorial board: Kevin Hook, Cheryl Welch, Matt DeYoung, Alex Doty and Fred VandenBrand. What do you think? E-mail us a letter to the editor to news@grandhaventribune.com or log-in to our website and leave a comment below.



I have a better idea, how about something like another, Van Andel Arena !!!


You will find that most of these large sports facilities are privately owned and for profit. It sounds great bringing all this money into town but it is all at the tax payer's expense. If my kids want to play hockey I pay for ice time. If they want to play travel volleyball I pay for their court time. The tax payer's should not have to pay for my kids FUN. Its one thing after another to spend money on. The township just received money for a new fire engine and now another bond request is coming for more fire department money. Bonds just passed for more money towards the schools athletic needs. Grand Haven township is now paying money toward the fireworks, why do the taxpayers have to pay for this? If I keep giving to everyone's pet projects there will nothing left. If you want to provide all these great benefits make them self-supporting and let the people who want it pay for it.


Who can afford any more taxes here? I guess those who don't pay taxes and vote for more (i.e. schools). Remember we still have to bail out Detroit. And the latest, half of Detroit can't afford their water bills. Get ready!!!


Sooo what would go on any ballot, how many $$$ would it cost like GHT says wheres the plan?


People don't fall for it.. GH TWP does not want this on the ballot due to the proposed tax increase for the fire department. They claim they need the money to keep the fire service in tact which is totally false. The fire service has over spent again. The Twp needs to look at cuts in the twp budget and not increase the fire department budget. Mr Cargo sat in one of the TWP board meetings when asked what will happens if the additional does not pass... He said then you won't have a fire department. I'm sure its really not his call.. that he works for the Twp board and the tax payers. It's time to send a message to the TWP board on the abuse and wasteful spending of our tax dollars.

Barry Soetoro

Yeah, dropping 700 large on a new fire rig and then crying poor. I'm still scratching my head over that one.


The tone of this column is really frustrating. Ottawa County has some of the nicest parks and rec facilities that I know of. To imply that our kids are suffering as they play on "dusty" fields. C'mon....
I don't doubt that the management of NORA feel a sense of obligation to constantly expand what has been started, but you have to realize that good times don't necessarily last forever. Whatever we build today has to be maintained or torn down by the taxpayers of tomorrow.
I go to Coast Guard Park, Mercury Park, Rycenga Park and they are rarely 50% utilized. Adult Softball seems to have dropped way off, and I would expect this has had the dual effect of reducing revenue for the parks, but also freed up more time at them. So I can see where budgets may be tighter, but I don't believe that there is a lack of space for kids to play. I have 3 kids who like to play baseball, flag football, basketball and volley ball on the weekends and we almost always have our choice of parks to play at. In the past two years we have had to go find a different diamond 3x, share a basketball court twice and have had no issues with volleyball or the soccer fields at CGP.
I like what we have. Don't get me wrong. But the tone of this article is just ridiculous.


No more taxes, if you want an arena, let the private sector pay for it, and then charge an admission, and a user fee. I do not see a need for one, not with all the large updated modern public schools. Nope, no way...but good luck.


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