Parks commission sets up committees to look at beach issues

Resident participation wanted to address parking, dune ecology, access, stairs.
A sign at Laketown Township Beach, 6710 142nd Ave., lets visitors know about parking at the site.

The Laketown Township Parks and Recreation Commission set up two committees to look at parking and environmental issues at Laketown Beach.

The commission is also seeking township residents to serve on the groups.

The committees

At the Wednesday, March 20, 2024, meeting, the parks commission established a Parking Committee and a Dunes Committee.

The Parking Committee will look at the parking situation at the beach, 6710 142nd Ave. Vehicles are limited to parking along the road in designated spots. Area residents have said the number of vehicles creates unsafe situations. Parks Commissioner Tom Hoekman will lead this group. Members will include neighbors, a representative from the Allegan County Sheriff’s Department and other community members.

The Dunes Committee will examine the ecology at the beach as well as stairs and beach access. Parks Commissioner Anne Brand will lead this group. Members will include experts from Hope College and the Outdoor Discovery Center, a representative from a company that could provide new stairs for the beach and community members.

Grass planting to stabilize the dunes is underway at the park. The commission has looked at EZ Beach Steps, adjustable aluminum ready-to-install steps, to replace the current wooden steps. No decision has been made if those new steps will be used.

Other than the experts, the committees will only take Laketown Township residents as members.

Commissioner Dick Becker asked that the committees consider restroom upgrades.

“Keep that on the back burner,” he said.

There is no timeline for the groups though they could start meeting in the next few months, according to Brand.

Other business

In other business, the commission:

  • Agreed to hold a public hearing May 15 on the proposed 2024 Community Parks and Recreation Plan. From there, the plan, which can help the commission acquire grants, will go to the township board for approval.
  • Approved “open play” pickleball times for 8:30 to 11:30 a.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Open play helps people find others to enjoy the game with. A private group will coordinate the play and create a sign explaining the process.
  • Agreed to invite a representative from the Outdoor Discovery Center to discuss programs in township parks. The Outdoor Discovery Center and parks commission partner for multiple programs such as wildflowers walks, frog catching and blueberry picking in township parks.