Laketown Township is a busy place all year round. Here are some of the events that stand out from 2023:
Work at Gibson Cemetery: Crews began clearing brush at Gibson Cemetery as part of the township’s plan to expand burial sites.
Blood Pressure Checks: The Graafschap Fire Department began offering free blood pressure checks at the station as part of its Community Risk Reduction program.
Farview and Shore Acres Signs: Sign creator Robert Krause of Fennville helped install custom-made signs on April 12 at Shore Acres Township Park, 6602 138th Ave., and Farview Park, 6257 138th Ave.
Parks Commission Leaders: Tom Shuff, chairperson of the Laketown Township Parks and Recreation Commission, resigned effective May 4 after moving out of the township. Jeremy Van Hoven was appointed chairperson, but he resigned in November. Brad Laninga was named chairperson in December.
Garlic Mustard Pull: Eight volunteers took to the dunes along Lake Michigan at the Castle Park Nature Reserve to help remove invasive garlic mustard.
Little Explorers: Throughout the year, the Outdoor Discovery Center and the Laketown Township Parks and Recreation Commission team up for fun at township parks. In April, hikers walked through Sanctuary Woods. In June, children explored Wolters Woods Park. In July, participants dodged raindrops to pick blueberries. In August, children used nets to catch and release frogs while in September, children used their senses to explore Shore Acres Park.
Long-time Treasurer Retires: Gary Dewey retired as treasurer after more than 30 years on the township board. He took office in 1992 after serving as an election worker and on the parks commission. Board Trustee Jim Johnson was appointed the new treasurer and Patrick Dietrich was appointed to replace the open trustee spot.
Concerts and Felt Director Retires: As happens every summer, music filled the air at the Felt Estate with free summer concerts. Unlike any other year, though, Felt Director Patty Meyer announced her retirement to a crowd that gave her a standing ovation.
Cleaning the Beach Steps: A crew from Escape Ministries tackled sand removal from the stairs at Laketown Township Beach Park on Aug. 1. Three people and a supervisor began a weeklong project as part of broader work around the township.
Donation Fights Invasives: Alpha Nurseries, 3737 65th St., donated time and equipment to help remove invasive autumn olive in Farview Park.
Water Tower Remembered: Aaron Edgel, who, as a 15-year-old Boy Scout, led the removal of a collapsed water tower at Sanctuary Woods in 2009, returned to the site and reflected on what it takes to get such a massive project complete.
Beach Signs: The Parks and Recreation Commission installed signs along the paths at Laketown Beach directing people to stay off the newly planted dune grass.
Blood Drive at Fire Station: The American Red Cross hosted the first blood drive at the Graafschap Fire Department station. Another was held in November.
Educational House: Holland Christian schools began using the Wolters House, purchased by the township the previous November, as a nature school. On Dec. 7, the Planning Commission approved a special use request from the school for use of the building.
Felt Estate Director: Elizabeth McEwen started as the new executive director of the Felt Estate, following in the footsteps of Patty Meyer who restored the mansion to its 1920s splendor.
Parks Signs Installed: The first of 13 new information and welcome signs were installed at township parks. Installation continued through December.
Grant for Fire Department: The Community Enhancement Program through the Macatawa Area Coordinating Council gave the Graafschap Fire Department a $2,000 grant for cardiopulmonary resuscitation training equipment.
Huyser House Demolition: The Parks and Recreation Commission unanimously voted to tear down the Huyser House at Huyser Farm Park.
Planning Chairperson Steps Down: Randy Becksvoort decided not to seek reappointment to the planning commission after 13 years of service.