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Welcome Spring with the Ottawa County Parks

Welcome Spring with the Ottawa County Parks

Welcome Spring with the Ottawa County Parks

OTTAWA COUNTY, MI—It may not feel like spring, but Ottawa County Parks has no shortage of spring programs.

Family Hours:  Each Sunday afternoon from 2-3pm, the Nature Center at Hemlock Crossing Park hosts programs for families on various topics. Stories, scavenger hunts, hikes and crafts keep things interesting for everyone. Topics include frogs, the water cycle, wetlands, wildflowers and more.

Bird & Wildflower Walks:  Ever walk in the woods wishing you could learn more about an encountered bird, plant or insect? A guided walk is for you. Now through the fall, hikes alongside expert naturalists are available on countless topics, such as birds, wildflowers, butterflies, reptiles and other spring surprises.

My Town: Ottawa County seedling sale deadline April 4

My Town: Ottawa County seedling sale deadline April 4

COOPERSVILLE, Mich.--  Time is running out to get in your order during the Ottawa Conservation District’s annual tree seedling sale fundraiser.

This year the OCD is offering seven types of conifers, six types of deciduous trees, eight types of shrubs and other plants.  Community members can also order books, bird and bat houses, plant products and wildlife repellents. You can find the order form here.

The goal of the Ottawa Conservation District is distribute native plants to help with reforestation, windbreaks, wildlife habitats and to prevent erosion.

All orders must be placed by April 4.  Seedlings will be distributed Saturday, April 26, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Reender’s Blueberry Farm in West Olive.  For additional information, contact Becky Huttenga at becky.huttenga@macd.org or (616) 846-8770 ext. 5.

My Town: Dozens competing in West Michigan Battle of the Buildings

My Town: Dozens competing in West Michigan Battle of the Buildings

UPDATE: Three more buildings have joined the competition.

Organizers say the MATS administration office, Community Mental Health and the Hall of Justice, all in Muskegon County are now involved in the Battle of the Buildings, bringing the total square footage to more than 9 million.  The new goal is 10 million square feet by the registration deadline of March 31.

PLAINFIELD TOWNSHIP, Mich.—More than three dozen local businesses are competing in cutting down energy in the West Michigan Battle of the Buildings.

The owners of 45 buildings representing nearly 9 million square feet of space have signed up to take part in the inaugural competition, organized by the U.S. Green Building Council West Michigan Chapter. The organization is teaming up with Consumers Energy and Hurst Mechanical to provide workshops on building improvements, optimizing operations and maintance and engaging building occupants to curb energy use.

My Town: City leaders to weigh in on North Bank Trail funding

My Town: City leaders to weigh in on North Bank Trail funding

CROCKERY TOWNSHIP, Mich.—Monday night, the Coopersville City Council is expected to weigh in on a plan to fund a new trail connecting Spring Lake to Coopersville.

The North Bank Trail would be an 18-mile pathway that would connect the Spring Lake Bike Path to the east end of the Musketawa Trail.  Crockery Township is asking for the City of Coopersville’s support in seeking project funding from the Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund.  Coopersville City Manager Steven Patrick is recommending the city council approve a resolution supporting the trust fund application, saying the trail would offer economic benefits.

My Town Grand Haven: Grand Haven Township eyes Diocese land

GRAND HAVEN TOWNSHIP, Mich.— The 417-acre Hofma Park and Preserve may soon grow by another 40 acres.

Within the next two weeks, Grand Haven Township officials plan to file for a state grant to help pay for purchasing 40 acres of land adjacent to Hofma Park and Preserve.  The land is approximately 52 percent forested wetland and 48 percent upland field with Christmas trees.  The land is currently owned by the Catholic Diocese of Grand Rapids.

Township Superintendent Bill Cargo says the land acquisition is expected to cost approximately $368,000.  Approximately 75 percent of that cost would be covered by the grant; the other 25 percent would come out of the township’s general fund.

The grant decision is expected to be finalized by November or December 2014.   If approved, Cargo is hopeful the grant would be funded in January 2015.

Cargo says the land would be kept in its natural state.

My Town Grand Haven: Harbor dredging awarded additional funding

My Town Grand Haven: Harbor dredging awarded additional funding

GRAND HAVEN, Mich.—Grand Haven’s harbor is getting some more TLC from the Army Corps of Engineers.

The Army Corps this week announced it will distribute $25 million for Great Lakes maintenance and cleanup projects, including dredging.  A portion of the funding will go to additional dredging in Grand Haven’s inner harbor.  

The funding announcement came after a letter from Great Lakes senators, encouraging the Army Corps of Engineers to allocate more funding to harbor maintenance from the $200 million in national funding for the 2014 fiscal year.

“The failure to provide adequate funds for harbor dredging has created a crisis in which many Great Lakes harbors are becoming so choked with silt that they are increasingly unusable,” said Sen. Carl Levin.  “This funding will provide assistance to harbors across the Great Lakes region, including several of the most severely impacted harbors in Michigan.”

Road budgets broken by long, harsh West Michigan winter

Road budgets broken by long, harsh West Michigan winter

OTTAWA COUNTY, Mich.—The West Michigan winter is carrying on, even though the Ottawa County Road Commission budget has dried up.

The road commission says $2.6 million was budgeted for winter-related work on roads, but more than $3.4 million has already been spent this year. The Michigan Department of Transportation has also had its budget blown by the extreme winter conditions.  MDOT had budgeted $1.3 million for winter maintenance of state highways in Ottawa County; so far it’s already spent more than $1.7 million.

The Ottawa County Road Commission will review its budget plan in April and likely cut back some planned road improvement projects and other maintenance activities to balanace the budget.