Group considers state park playground ideas

Alex Doty • Oct 6, 2016 at 2:00 PM

Organizers of a recent public input meeting aimed at deciding future playground plans at Grand Haven State Park are beginning to filter through citizen suggestions.

According to Friends of Grand Haven State Park’s Karen Casey, input from a Sept. 21 meeting, ballots turned in at the state park campground and what came from a small focus group of local children have helped glean ideas for the playground’s future.

“We have received about 42 ballots which allowed children and others to circle playground-related words and types of equipment they would like to see at the park, as well as to write or draw individual ideas on the back,” Casey said. “Responses have shown a variety of interests — with climbing, spinning and digging among favorites.”

The Friends group say they are committed to providing a new playground at the north end of the state park. Two sets of playgrounds are in the works: one for ages 2-5 and a second for ages 5-12.

Near the end of this summer season, the Friends group and park personnel installed two small pieces of equipment in the general area of the new playground space — a climber and a spinner.

”Based on their use in the short time these pieces have been up, those two themes of interest seem to be consistent,” Casey said.

Another priority reflected by stakeholders — and that’s a goal of the Friends group and the state — is accessibility for all users, Casey noted.

Organizers say the cost of the playground project is estimated at about $150,000. The Friends group has been raising money for this and other projects since the group’s inception in 2012.

According to Casey, the group plans to raise money for the playground by selling firewood and fire pits to campers, collect soda cans and bottles at the park and return them for the deposits, handle contracts for soda and snack vending machines, and contract with periodic vendors and exhibitors for special events. The group also plans to write and obtain grants, such as DNR Partnership Match Program and $7,000 from the Youth Advisory Council of the Grand Haven Area Community Foundation.

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