Government, Lakeshore, and Sustainability

Lakeshore township lands 158 acres

February 4, 2016
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Hofma Park
Hofma Park in Grand Haven is 80 acres and features a soccer field, softball field, playground and 78-space parking area. Photo by Rachel Weick

A lakeshore township has picked up 158 acres of land after an acquisition and a donation.

Grand Haven Charter Township’s Hofma Park and Preserve has expanded through a 40-acre land acquisition from the Roman Catholic Diocese of Grand Rapids and a 118-acre property donation from the Esther Witteveen Trust.

Land acquisition

Grand Haven Charter Township entered into a purchase agreement with the Roman Catholic Bishop of the Diocese of Grand Rapids to acquire the 40-acre property at 15795 Ferris St. for about $309,000 last fall.

Since the township secured a Michigan Department of Natural Resources Land Acquisition grant to finance 75 percent of the cost, the township was responsible for the remaining 25 percent.

Bill Cargo, Grand Haven Charter Township superintendent, said the 40-acre parcel cut into the existing Hofma Park and Preserve, and it was logical to acquire the land to allow public access.

“About 20 acres is surrounded on three sides by the Hofma Park and Preserve, so it was important for us to purchase this so we could have access to the back,” Cargo said.

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Grand Rapids was represented by Stan Wisinski and Mary Ann Wisinski-Rosely of NAI Wisinski of West Michigan during the transaction, while Superintendent Cargo was authorized as the township’s representative during the closing process.

Land donation

The township also received 118 acres of land located off of Sleeper Street through the Esther Witteveen Trust.

Cargo indicated the property on the other side of the park and preserve was supposed to be donated to the township in 2023, but it gained control of the parcel last December.

Planning land uses

The additional 40 acres adjacent to Hofma Park and Preserve will be used for new sporting fields and elevated boardwalks.

Stacey Fedewa, planning and zoning official with Grand Haven Charter Township, said the land will be used for recreational purposes, and more than half of the rear section of the property will remain undeveloped due to its wetland natural state.

“The planning portion will likely begin in 2017 and start with community engagement to determine what type of amenities should be added to the site,” Fedewa said. “This will occur in conjunction with the other 118 acres of parkland that was donated to the township.”

Park and preserve

Hofma Park and Preserve is located between Ferris Street and Sleeper Street, east of U.S. 31.

The park and preserve features a number of amenities: floating bridges and elevated boardwalks, soccer field, softball field, inline skating rink, picnic area, playgrounds and parking spaces. 

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