Parks commission elects new chairperson, starts master plan process

Jeremy Van Hoven is the leader of the parks commission.
Jeremy Van Hoven was named chairperson of the Laketown Township Parks and Recreation Commission on Wednesday, May 17, 2023.

The Laketown Township Parks and Recreation Commission unanimously elected Jeremy Van Hoven its new chairperson at the Wednesday, May 17, 2023, meeting.

Van Hoven replaces Tom Shuff who resigned earlier in the month after moving out of the township. Shuff’s open seat still needs to be replaced.

Van Hoven was first appointed to the parks commission in 2021. He was elected in 2022 and will need to run again in 2024 to stay on the commission.

The commission also unanimously reappointed Karen Simmons as vice chairperson and Dick Becker as treasurer. Anne Brand is also a commissioner.

Open position

Shuff’s open seat on the commission still needs to be filled. Two members of the township board and one parks commission member will go through the eight applicants and make a recommendation to the township board which will make the final decision.

The parks commission is a five-member board that oversees the seven township parks and multi-use paths and coordinates recreational programs with the Outdoor Discovery Center. Ongoing projects include marking trails, installing welcoming and informational signs and overseeing the annual Day of Caring for volunteers to help clean up parks.

The commission meets once a month at 6 p.m. on the third Wednesday.

Master plan

Also on Wednesday, the commission started work on its new five-year parks and recreation plan that helps guide the commission in planning and projects. It also assists in securing state grants. The last plan was updated in 2018.

Four public meetings are planned so residents can express their views on what should be in the plan. The meetings are 6 p.m. Thursday, June 8, at the township hall, 4338 Beeline Road; 9 a.m. Saturday, June 10, at the township hall; 6 p.m. Thursday, July 13, at the township hall; and 10 a.m. Saturday, July 15, at the township hall. A parks commissioner will be present at each meeting.

For more information on the master plan, contact Community Development Director Michelle Sall at (616) 335-3050.