By Jim Hayden
Saugatuck City Council got a glimpse Monday of what the future could hold for its more than 163 acres of parkland during a public hearing.
Council members will vote at a later meeting to make the document part of the proposed five-year Tri-Community Parks and Recreation Plan that includes Douglas City and Saugatuck Township.
“You’re starting to lay the groundwork for what could happen in the future,” said Rick Stout of the engineering firm Fleis & Vandenbrink. The document could help secure state grants for the almost $5 million in projects it highlights.
Council hired Fleis of Grand Rapids in 2016 to complete the five-year plan that will look at what to do with 11 properties including Coghlin Park, Cook Park, Jones Park, Mount Baldhead Park, Oval Beach, Peterson Nature Preserve, Rose Garden Park, Wicks Park, Willow Park and the Village Square.
The almost 20 acres donated to the city by the Oval Beach Preservation Society last month were added to the plan, which keeps that area for low-impact use such as hiking.
The plan process included public hearings, an online survey answered by 249 people and site tours. The total cost for all projects listed is $4.7 million, a cost estimate Councilman Bill Hess called “mind-boggling.”
The ideas will not be done at once, if at all, and could span 15 to 20 years.
“This is an evolving process. These projects are not set in stone,” said Stout.
The most expensive plan is for Oval Beach with a total estimated cost of $1.4 million. Work includes a new restroom, concession and shower building at $450,000 and play area climbing structure and equipment for $125,000.
Village Square has a total of $963,700 of improvements including a Veterans Park with walk and displays for $250,000, play area climbing structure and equipment for $125,000 and pickleball court for $80,000.
Mt. Baldhead Park has a total for all projects at $871,000, including a new restroom for $125,000, removal of the radar building for $145,000 and a plan for maintenance and repairs to the tower itself.
Other proposals include:
Coghlin Park, total $626,800: dock with kayak launch for $135,000; restroom for $125,000.
Wicks Park, total $560,200: band shell for $175,000; new restroom facility for $125,000.
Willow Park, total $251,000: boardwalk promenade $72,000; fishing platform for $60,000.
Cook Park, no recommendations for improvement.
Peterson Nature Preserve: No recommendations for improvement, but long-term plans call for signage displays and a floating boardwalk.
Jones Park: Maintenance.
Rose Garden: Maintenance. Repainting and gate/fence replacement in long term.