Ottawa County Parks & Recreation

Sustainability Plan

In 2017 the Parks Commission and staff completed a Sustainability Plan for the park system.

Preserving and restoring parkland, protecting critical watersheds, maintaining native wildlife and plant species, and providing high quality recreational activities are important for the future of the parks. The purpose of a Sustainability Plan is to ensure that Ottawa County will be able to maintain its current practices and develop a strategy for future opportunities with an ever-growing population and increasing park use.

The plan identifies goals Ottawa County Parks aspires to accomplish within five years, at which time the plan will be reviewed. The goals are organized into Environmental, Economic, and Social Sustainability. Objectives and actions will be included to specify the exact steps that must be taken in order to reach the indicated goals. The plan will be available to the public to review later this year.

View the Plan

2018 Annual Report

Public Input

Ottawa county residents and park visitors helped build and guide this plan by completing surveys (raw data is available in plan appendices), comment cards, and by attending public meetings. A very high level of support for the activities of the Parks Commission was revealed.

Parks Plan Overview

  1. Continues emphasis on high quality maintenance and operations with projections of long-term capital renovation needs. Roughly half of discretionary (non-operating) funds area dedicated to renovations of current park facilities.
  2. Calls for further improvements at the Grand Ravines, Paw Paw Park, Ottawa Beach, and completion of the Grand River Greenway. It also anticipates modest growth in other land and facilities to accommodate the growing county population and to complete existing initiatives.
  3. Continues efforts to meet and exceed ADA accessibility guidelines at all lands and facilities.
  4. Provides flexibility to consider other unexpected opportunities and expand existing park properties.
  5. Continues focus on providing nature education programs throughout the park system.
  6. Expands emphasis on communications to residents of available opportunities for optimal park use.

Project Funding

The Parks Plan also includes detailed budget projections and a capital improvement plan. The plan notes that the millage combined with grant funds has allowed the Parks Commission to provide a large and high-quality park system to serve residents and visitors. With a higher percentage of millage funds devoted to operations and maintenance there will be a greater reliance on other funding for new and existing initiatives, including the Grand River Greenway. The newly formed Ottawa County Parks Foundation was created to secure more private funding.

Renovations – 2016-2027

Total Discretionary Budget Used$3,624,000
1. Pavement renovation/reconstruction
Includes: Grand River Park, Hager, Riverside Park, Kirk Park, and more
2. Wood stairs and boardwalks
Includes: Tunnel Park and Kirk Park
3. Restrooms
Includes: Grose Park, Tunnel Park, North Beach Park, and Tunnel Park
4. Other buildings
Includes: Hager Park
5. Operations buildings $264,000
6. Play areas
Includes Hager Park, Grose Park, and Kirk Park
7. Ecological restoration $158,000
8. Miscellaneous $405,000

Planned Parks Projects – 2017-2027

Total Discretionary Budget Used$3,325,000
(+ grants & donations)
Acquisitions (706 acres) $1,275,000
Grand River Greenway Trail $1,750,000
Historic Ottawa Beach Waterfront (marina area)
Preliminary Plans

Potential New Initiatives – 2017-2027

Next highest priority projects, if funding is available:
Requires: $1,605,000 + donations/grants

  1. Pumphouse – Phase 2
    Addition of modern restroom and finish floor of building
    Floors completed in 2017; modern restroom to be completed in early 2018.
  2. Grand Ravines - Phase 3
    Addition of suspension bridge through ravines
    Suspension bridge completed in 2017, thanks to a donation from Bea Idema
  3. Crockery Creek day use
    Construction of visitor amenities, including: parking and trails
    Parking and trail system improvements were completed in 2017.
  4. Bend Area – Phase 1
    Following necessary acquisitions, construct visitor amenities including: parking and trails
    Grant funding from the Michigan Natural Resources Trust fund was approved for 231 acres.
    Acquisition pending required environmental review/permitting from the DEQ.
  5. Historic Ottawa Beach accessible kayak launch
    Installation of new floating kayak launch
    A Coastal Zone Management grant was submitted in 2016, but was denied because of the project timeline. It was re-submitted in 2017
  6. Upper Macatawa Natural Area, 84th Avenue restroom
    Addition of modern restroom at popular access point
  7. Adams Street Landing linkage (40 acres)
    Purchase of riverfront land to connect Adams St Landing with Paw Paw Park (route for greenway trail)
  8. Paw Paw Macatawa Greenway Trail
    Construct paved, non-motorized greenway trail through Paw Paw Park including two large bridges over the Macatawa River
  9. Pigeon River Greenway Improvements
    Expand trails and develop new facilities