PARK TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WOOD) — For more than 83 years, it served pilots of small planes and other aircraft near Holland. Now, Park Township officials want the public to help decide the future of the airport property.
The Park Township Airport on Ottawa Beach Road near 152nd Avenue closed in 2020. Township leaders have launched a campaign to find a new mission for the old airfield.
“It’s a phenomenal asset. The board has made it clear that’s it’s going to remain a park,” Township Manager Howard Fink said.
Three ideas were outlined on a website created for the process, including establishing a regional pickleball facility.
“We don’t have a place that we can host large tournaments towards the lakeshore area. It would be a great place to run leagues, to run lessons,” said Jenna Spears, who owns PROmotion Pickleball, which runs leagues and tournaments all over the lakeshore.
The pickleball facility is part of Option A, which also includes a veterans and aviation memorial garden, play areas and picnic space. Option B is much the same, but with eight general sports courts and a splash pad. Option C includes more natural space in addition to an aviation museum.
In keeping with the site’s history, all three options include an area for drone and radio-controlled aircraft.
“From the very beginning, we wanted a very robust public participation component to try to figure out what to do with the 70, 80 acres that are there,” Fink said.
The public can offer opinions on the three options through the website and other sources both digital and in person. Three Zoom sessions are set up for May 18, May 21, and June 3. In-person workshops are set for May 23, June 2, and June 11. Remote engagement booths are also set up at three locations in the township. Information is also available on the township’s main website.
“We really want to get a sense of what the community thinks in terms of those three options,” Fink said.
The three options carry price tags ranging from $3.3 million to $5.2 million. The township board is looking for funding options.
“Grants are certainly an option,” Fink said. “We’ll look at multiple sources and go from there.”
The public input part of the plan will run through this summer, with a decision made as early as summer 2023.