The Year in Review: Highlights from 2023

Looking back at Laketown Township events.

Laketown Township is a busy place all year round. Here are some of the events that stand out from 2023:

March

Crews from Heavener Property Service of Saugatuck begin clearing brush and debris at Gibson Cemetery, 6487 138th Ave., in Laketown Township, on Tuesday, March 21, 2023, as part of the township’s plans to add burial sites.

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.

April

Artist Robert Krause, left, and Laketown Township Facilities Operations Brett Grams pause on Wednesday, April 12, 2023, after installing the new sign at Farview Park, 6257 138th Ave.

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.

May

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.

Joe Devine of Grand Rapids holds a mass of garlic mustard, an invasive species he and other volunteers were removing on Saturday, May 13, 2023, at the Castle Park Nature Reserve in Laketown Township in an event organized by the Land Conservancy of West Michigan.

Garlic Mustard Pull: Eight volunteers took to the dunes along Lake Michigan at the Castle Park Nature Reserve to help remove invasive garlic mustard.

June

Naturalist Kaitie Janecke Soltesz with the Outdoor Discovery Center gets children to listen for birds in the Little Explorers program Tuesday, June 13, 2023, at Wolters Woods Park, 6281 147th Ave. in Laketown Township. About 20 children 6 years old or younger along with their adult caregivers explored the nature trails at the 37-acre park. The free program was sponsored by Laketown Township Parks and Recreation Commission. The next program in Laketown Township is July 26 at Huyser Farm Park. For more information, visit outdoordiscovery.org.

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.

July

Laketown Township Treasurer Gary Dewey talks at his final township board meeting on Wednesday, July 12, 2023, at the township hall, 4338 Beeline Road.

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.

Felt Estate Operations Director Patty Meyer, left, and her daughter, Jill, stand on stage on Thursday, July 27, 2023, to open the final Thursdays at the Felt Summer Concert Series at the Carriage House Stage, 6595 138th Ave. in Laketown Township. This was Patty Meyer’s last time with the music series she founded. She is retiring in the fall. Meyer has spent about two decades restoring the 1920s mansion and property in the dunes along Lake Michigan.

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.

The band Bucket O’ Maybes performs on Thursday, July 27, 2023, at the final Thursdays at the Felt Summer Concert Series at the Carriage House Stage, 6595 138th Ave. in Laketown Township.

August

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.

Joe Geurink of Alpha Nurseries, 3737 65th St. in Laketown Township, cuts invasive autumn olive at Farview Park, 6257 138th Ave., on Friday, Aug. 18, 2023.

Donation Fights Invasives: Alpha Nurseries, 3737 65th St., donated time and equipment to help remove invasive autumn olive in Farview Park.

Aaron Edgel sits on the concrete slabs that used to support a water tower at Sanctuary Woods in Laketown Township on Aug. 26, 2023.

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.

September

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.

Elizabeth A. McEwen stands in front of the Felt Mansion in Laketown Township on Monday, Aug. 28, 2023. She starts as the new executive director of the Felt Estate on Sept. 18.

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.

Brett Grams, facilities operations for Laketown Township, installs a new sign at Sanctuary Woods Park, 4750 66th St., on Tuesday, Sept. 12, 2023. The sign highlights the ecology of the park.

Parks Signs Installed: The first of 13 new information and welcome signs were installed at township parks. Installation continued through December.

October

Dave Grumney, Captain, Training & Health/Safety for the Graafschap Fire Department, 4534 60th St., shows the new training mannequins funded by a $2,000 grant from the Community Enhancement Program of the Macatawa Area Coordinating Council on Thursday, Oct. 26, 2023.

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.

November

Huyser House, 4158 64th St., on Dec. 28, 2023.

Huyser House Demolition: The Parks and Recreation Commission unanimously voted to tear down the Huyser House at Huyser Farm Park.

December

Laketown Township Treasurer Jim Johnson, left, who is also a planning commissioner, presents outgoing planning commission Chairperson Randy Becksvoort a certificate of recognition for his 13 years of service at the Dec. 6 planning commission meeting.

Planning Chairperson Steps Down: Randy Becksvoort decided not to seek reappointment to the planning commission after 13 years of service.