SPRING LAKE, Mich. (WOOD) — Even though the village is only a mile long, Spring Lake is in the midst of huge growth and development.

City leaders have been busy with a vision to make Spring Lake a destination for boaters, shoppers and weddings. A $3.5 million project at Tanglefoot Park along the Grand River is a big piece of the excitement.

“We have a beautiful pavilion for our farmers market as well as for event rentals. We have an awesome fireplace. We have … a universal kayak launch. We also have the bike path that goes through here. We have floating docks that go out here for transient docking in the summertime. And we also have a splash pad, which was a huge hit this summer. It’s brought life back to this park,” Stefanie Herder, the director of the Spring Lake Downtown Development Authority, said.

The fireplace at Tanglefoot Park in Spring Lake. (Jan. 26, 2023)
The fireplace at Tanglefoot Park in Spring Lake. (Jan. 26, 2023)

She said all the work was paid for by private donations and grants.

“We’re really working on reclaiming the waterfront access for our residents and for visitors, too. The transient docking is one thing that our Downtown Development Authority has really wanted because we want people to come in, get off their boats … hang out at the fireplace, but (also) go down to our restaurants and our shops and our social district.”

The village recently implemented a social district that stretches to the waterfront with the goal of attracting more boaters in the summer.

It is working on a $6.6 million utility expansion so the grid can handle increased use; that’s expected to take a few years.

The list of projects in the works goes on. There are two proposals for mixed-use residential buildings, one of which would fill a vacant lot behind the village hall. They are seeking grants to repave the parking lot at Mill Point Park, which was damaged by high water a few years ago. Another plan would add more transient docks near M-104 with access to Spring Lake, the Grand River and Lake Michigan.

“We only have 2,500 residents, we’re a mile long, but we have M-104 and we have 20,000 cars that go by a day and then we also have 150 businesses in our little town,” Herder said. “We have a lot going on and a lot of development that’s happened in the last five years or so has really sparked the magic to happen in Spring Lake.”

*Correction: A previous version of this article misspelled Herder’s first name. We regret the error, which has been fixed.