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Allegan voters to decide whether to redraw park boundaries to make room for hotel

Posted at 11:13 PM, Feb 25, 2020
and last updated 2020-02-26 05:23:56-05

ALLEGAN, Mich — In just a couple of weeks, voters in The City of Allegan will decide whether the boundaries of Mahan Park will be redrawn to make room for a hotel.

The proposal on Allegan County's ballot reads, "Shall the City of Allegan be authorized to sell up to .33 acres of land in Mahan Park for development as a hotel, as part of a transaction in which at least .38 acres of new park land are added to Mahan Park?"

The park has been used for everything from wedding photos to barbecues over the years, and, given that history, the new proposal is getting some mixed reaction.

On Tuesday, Matt Adams and Sean Horihan, who are involved with the group Friends of the Riverfront, were talking with people about the potential development by CL Real Estate.

"My wife and I recently moved to Allegan and really loved the city and have seen the progression downtown, and we see this as an opportunity to continue that," said Adams.

The project is also getting the support of local business owner, Matt Flora, who has a hair salon near the area in question.

"It’s just a win-win for all of us business owners, and we are so excited about the prospect," said Flora. "I think it is going to be absolutely beautiful. I just think it’s going to make our town [and] take it to the next level."

However, many residents do not want to see the change in that particular area.

"Parks are a trust with the community. And if, you sell a park, it’s like selling a piece of your community," said Jason Watts with Friends of Mahan Park, "There was a lot of investment with the city’s sinking fund and other donors that invested in this lot, this park, to pay tribute not only to Dr. Mahan and the entire community."

"Mahan Park was the cornerstone that started the riverfront renaissance in Allegan," said Watts.

Watts is also concerned about adding challenges to organizing community events like concerts if the park is moved next to a noisy bridge.

The group supporting the measure says if this plan doesn't go through, there is no other way to get the hotel there because of the public land.

Polls open on March 10 at 7 a.m. and close at 8 p.m.