Grand Haven Charter Township was provided a unique opportunity to establish a new community park thanks to Jim Schmidt, the generous donor of nearly 70 acres of land. With the added stipulation of needing to complete the park by a specific date or risk losing the donated land, the Township hired Prein&Newhof to work with the park donor in bringing conceptual ideas to reality through planning, budgeting, coordination of utilities, and community engagement.
Prein&Newhof and Grand Haven Charter Township engaged the Northwest Ottawa Recreation Commission to evaluate needs in the community related to soccer, baseball, and softball. Sports field sizes were chosen to provide the most flexibility with varying age groups. The local pickleball community was also engaged to help plan the court area, with the shared goal of transforming Schmidt Heritage Park into destination along the lakeshore for future pickleball tournaments and more significant events. Prein&Newhof also met with experts in the irrigation and turf industries to aid in designing a project that would meet the users’ needs while remaining easy to operate and maintain well into the future.
This successful expansion of Grand Haven Charter Township’s park network provides many new opportunities for all types of recreational activities. These activities range from active recreation areas, such as the six soccer fields, one baseball field, one softball field, and twelve pickleball courts, to passive recreation areas, like the Jo-Jo Jogging Trail, which meanders through 15 acres of wooded uplands with a small creek crossing and elevated boardwalks. Park amenities also include restrooms, ample parking, and shelters for social gatherings and organized activities. Future phases will include two youth baseball diamonds and two softball fields along with more restrooms, shelters, and parking.
Involving local recreational groups was essential to supporting the community and providing facilities that will allow them to expand. To continue to facilitate this expansion and maintain a high level of service, Jim Schmidt established a fund through the local community foundation to assist with ongoing maintenance costs.
CopperRock Construction served as the general contractor for the project. Emphasis was placed on retaining local subcontractors, including Schmidt Brothers Excavating, Weesies Brothers Landscaping, InLine Electric, R.A. Holmes, Turf Services, Connan Construction, Racquet Sports, A&H Masonry, Gales Plumbing, Dewind Dewatering, Asphalt Paving, and Straight Line Fence.