FERRYSBURG, Mich. — Ottawa Sands Park in Ferrysburg is one of the newest parks in Ottawa County. On Saturday, the Ottawa County Parks & Recreation Commission held a field day for the community to voice their opinions on how the space should be developed.
"We have this incredible natural resource here for the community," said Jason Shamblin, the director for the Ottawa County Parks & Recreation Commission.
A former sand mine located off of North Shore Drive in Ferrysburg is now a 340 acre natural resource for residents of West Michigan.
"We acquired half of it in 2018 with help from the Land Conservancy and with the Michigan Department of Natural Resources trust fund," Shamblin added. "The second half was purchased in July of 2019."
The space is filled with winding trails and waterways, including the Grand River and an inland lake which is currently closed for swimming and recreational boating, something some residents would like to change.
"I really like the idea of the lake and being able to enjoy it some more," said Laura Romesburg, "do some activities like swimming and limited kayaking, but we also don't want it to become super touristy."
Hundreds of people came out to enjoy the beautiful day in the park, including Grand Haven resident Joyce Cawthon and her husband, along with three of their grandchildren.
"We've been doing all Ottawa County parks," Cawthon smiled, "we've done 22 out of the 40. We've done this one before but wanted to check out what was being envisioned for the future."
All of the feedback is being used to preserve, transform and enhance the park, all to better serve the community.
"What we're trying to figure out is how to develop it with protecting the critical ecology here," Shamblin added, "and make it more usable for the community."
Shamblin says the Parks & Recreation Commission will use the feedback to work with Crystal Zone Management and determine a master plan, which will be in place by the end of 2020.