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Transformative plan to provide overnight stay at Ottawa Sands County Park

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Posted at 8:11 PM, Dec 18, 2021

OTTAWA COUNTY, Mich. — There's a transformative plan in the works to improve Ottawa Sands County Park. Officials say they're now planning a whole new kind of experience along the Grand River Greenway. 

This new plan is going to give people an overnight experience. Ottawa County Parks and Recreation wants to get shovels in the ground next fall.

"So the spherical-looking ones are a yurt village. So there's your villages," Ottawa County Parks and Recreation Director Jason Shamblin told FOX 17. "That will be developed in conjunction with there will be three treehouses."

This new project is all made possible thanks to a $2.5 million gift from the Bill and Bea Idema Foundation.

READ MORE: Foundation donates $2M to Michigan greenway trail project

"It's an incredibly exciting opportunity to provide these... provide this benefit to the public. We see this as a regional attraction for the whole Greenway. So when I say 'the Greenway,' the Grand River connects from Lake Michigan all the way into Grand Rapids," he said.

"This is going to be a new whole kind of experience and also going to provide a deeper exploration of the area," Shamblin said. "You're in the dunes, you're on the Grand River and, and literally a few 100 yards away from Lake Michigan, and there's no other experience like it."

It's an experience that might be hard to get when done. The Michigan Department of Natural Resources shows visitors jumped from 28 million to 35 million.

"How do we have equitable access through a lottery? And, you know, how do we operate it that everybody will have an opportunity to utilize them?" he said.

Shamblin says they're also planning on adding in ten campsites for tents. Right now, the overnight cost is unknown.

He says they plan on looking at other comparable places to come up with a cost.

RELATED: Community helps determine future development of Ottawa Sands Park

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