Brad Laninga appointed to parks and recreation commission

New commissioner's first meeting is June 21.

The Laketown Township Board of Trustees appointed a new parks commissioner on Wednesday, June 14, 2023, from an original field of eight applications.

Brad Laninga received unanimous support from the board. He takes his seat on the Parks and Recreation Commission at the Wednesday, June 21, meeting at 6 p.m. at the township hall, 4338 Beeline Road.

“I would desire to represent the residents of Laketown Township and remain fiscally responsible to use tax dollars to the best of the township’s ability,” he wrote in his application for the position. He said he regularly hikes at many of the township parks.

“Our township offers a great variety of outdoor experiences for residents and visitors alike,” he wrote. “I would like to be part of maintaining and growing new outdoor opportunities in Laketown.”

Laninga listed volunteer experiences in trail restoration at national parks in Texas and Utah. He has been a township resident since 2006.

The township board set up a three-member committee made up of township board Trustee Jim Johnson, township board Treasurer Gary Dewey and Parks and Recreation Commission Vice Chairperson Karen Simmons to find a replacement for Tom Shuff who resigned from the parks commission in May after moving out of the township.

The committee received eight applicants – one withdrew their application – and voted for the top three candidates – Laninga, Patrick Dietrich and Cindy Kane – to interview.

“All good candidates,” Johnson said about the applicants.

Laninga will serve on the parks commission until the November 2024 election.

The parks commission has been in the spotlight recently over the future of the house at Huyser Farm Park, 4188 64th St. Some residents want the house demolished; others want it preserved. The parks commission moved that decision to the township Building Authority which is now deciding what to do with the 1939 home that has been unoccupied for more than 20 years.

The commission has just started work on the update of its five-year Parks and Recreation Master Plan that is needed for grant applications. The plan also guides decisions about the care and future development of parks and recreational activities.

Besides Laninga and Simmons, other parks commission members are Chairperson Jeremy Van Hoven, Dick Becker and Anne Brand.