Township officials set to host info meeting on new park project

Dennis Mansfield, Contributing Writer

KALKASKA – Big, bold and aggressive. Those might be just a few of the terms used to describe a potential project, led by Kalkaska Township, to build a new park and multi-use facility spanning 160 acres off of Island Lake Road.

Kalkaska Township will host a “Park Project Public Forum” to show off plans for the new complex at an open house from 4-8 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 23, at the township hall on Laurel Street in Kalkaska.

Mike Winters, Kalkaska Township supervisor, said officials are currently in the process of contacting the state about procuring 160 acres on Island Lake Road, between Airport Road and Smith Lake Road.

“It will be made in the name of the township,” Winters said, referring to the application for the property.

Plans for the site include various athletic fields for soccer, baseball and softball, as well as a derby ring, concert pavilion, a community recreation center, livestock showing areas, along with paved and gravel parking areas.

Winters is quick to point out that such an “aggressive project” isn’t a venture just for Kalkaska Township. Instead, it will be a collaboration between youth athletic groups, the National Trout Festival, Kalkaska Winterfest and Kalkaska County Agricultural Fair, among others potentially.

“All these different groups, if they want to be involved, they’ll have a seat at the table,” Winters said. “It will not be run by the township.”

The spark for the project might have come from a series of recent disagreements between local youth athletic groups, and Kaliseum Recreation Complex officials and Kalkaska County Board of Commissioners over fees charged to use athletic facilities adjacent to the Kaliseum and Kalkaska Civic Center on county-owned property off of West Mile Road.

However, Winters added that the true driving force behind the project is space – or the lack of it.

According to Winters, the local youth Little League baseball program registered more than 400 kids for the 2019 season.

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