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Park planning effort identifies nearly $6M in potential projects

Alex Doty • Jul 12, 2017 at 4:00 PM

GRAND HAVEN TWP. — Township officials are moving toward a long-term vision to guide the development of the Wolf and Witteveen park properties adjacent to Hofma Park & Preserve.

The township’s Board of Trustees, Planning Commission, and Parks and Recreation Committee recently hosted a joint meeting with Nederveld Inc. planners to discuss the future vision of the two properties — the 115-acre Witteveen farm, located off Sleeper Street; and the 40-acre Wolf property, located off Ferris Street.

The meeting followed a set of events in June where Nederveld design experts, township officials, and local residents and property owners walked both park properties. Following the tours, a pair of community engagement sessions were hosted by the township to gather input on possible land uses.

“After all the input, we started putting together some concepts, designs and ideas,” Nederveld designer Jamie Walter said.

Ideas generated for the Witteveen property include hiking and biking trails, art and sculpture installations, selective tree removal, native forest and vegetation restoration, a parking area and restroom facility. The total cost for all proposed Witteveen improvements is about $970,807.

Concepts for the Wolf property include several irrigated multi-sport fields, an irrigated baseball field, pickleball courts, playground, hiking trails, wetland boardwalks, pavilion and restroom facilities, enhanced parking areas, new signage, and various landscaping enhancements. The total cost for all of the identified improvements to the Wolf property is a little more than $5 million.

Township Trustee Cal Meeusen noted that he had some concern with the number of concepts.

“It seems to me that we have a lot of wonderful ideas, and I think that’s excellent, but I think that there’s too many of them,” he said. “I think maybe it’s just a little bit of overkill on some of these items.”

Meeusen said it appears that officials are trying to appease every single person who wanted something at the various properties.

“Why not just leave some of these areas natural, without putting in some of these items?” he said. “It’s going to take quite a bit of maintenance once all of this is done.” 

Township officials noted that it would not be done all at once due to the cost and scope of the plan.

“It’s not going to happen all at once unless we get a really great grant,” Township Manager Bill Cargo said. 

During a work session Monday night, Cargo said that the Hofma Vision draft plan could be coming to the Township Board for review in 3-4 weeks.

”We have two very large properties that’ve been granted to us, and it all starts with a vision,” he said.

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