Ottawa County

Weekly Construction Update: June 14, 2024: OCRC Construction Update

For regular updates, visit our current road work and closures website and view an interactive road work map. You can also visit our website to view a list of all planned OCRC construction projects for the current construction season. Be sure to follow our Facebook, Instagram and X accounts for up-to-date Road Commission information.

Note: The OCRC does not list construction projects for Michigan Department of Transportation work or local cities/villages in Ottawa County. For information about these projects, visit the MDOT construction project map or find your local municipality’s website.


Road Closure Update: New Holland St., U.S. 31 to 136th Ave., Olive Twp.
DURATION: June 17-24, 2024
WHERE: New Holland St.: U.S. 31 to 136th Ave., Olive Twp.
WHY: Culvert Failure Repair
BACKGROUND: Contractors for the Ottawa County Road Commission will be making repairs to the failed culvert on New Holland St. between U.S. 31 and 136th Ave. in Olive Township the week of June 17, 2024.
The project is expected to last for one week, and the road will reopen once the repairs are completed.
The road has been closed since March following an on-site inspection by OCRC engineers who determined that there was a failed culvert. The OCRC was required to obtain and was waiting on necessary permits before work could take place on the repair.
TRAFFIC IMPACT: The current detour in place consisting of U.S. 31/Van Buren St./136th Ave. remains in place for the duration of the closure.


Road Resurfacing: Gooding St., 48th Ave. to 32nd Ave., Chester Twp., begins June 17, 2024
START DATE: Week of June 17, 2024
ESTIMATED FINISH: June 28, 2024
WHERE: Gooding St., 48th Ave. to 32nd Ave., Chester Twp.
WHY: Road Resurfacing
BACKGROUND: Beginning the week of June 17, 2024, contractors for the Ottawa County Road Commission will begin a resurfacing project on Gooding St. from 48th Ave. to 32nd Ave. in Chester Twp.
This project will consist of milling down existing asphalt, adding a 3-foot paved shoulder, resurfacing the road with 2 layers of new asphalt, and gravel shoulder restoration.
This project is expected to last through late June 28, 2024, however all work is weather dependent and completion dates are subject to change.
TRAFFIC IMPACT: The road will remain open to through traffic; however traffic will be maintained using temporary lane closures under flag control during work hours. Be prepared for possible delays when traveling through this area during project hours.


Road Resurfacing: Van Buren St., 48th Ave. to 40th Ave., Georgetown Twp., June 20-July 17, 2024
START DATE: June 20, 2024
ESTIMATED FINISH: July 17, 2024
WHERE: Van Buren St., 48th Ave. to 40th Ave., Georgetown Twp.
WHY: Road Resurfacing
BACKGROUND: Beginning the week of June 20, 2024, contractors for the Ottawa County Road Commission will begin a resurfacing project on Van Buren St. from 48th Ave. to 40th Ave. in Georgetown Twp.
This project will consist of milling off the existing asphalt surface, adding paved shoulders up to 3 feet in width on each side of Van Buren St. where conditions allow, and paving 2 layers of new asphalt.
This project is expected to last through July 17, 2024, however all work is weather dependent and completion dates are subject to change.
TRAFFIC IMPACT: The road will remain open to through traffic; however traffic will be maintained using temporary lane closures under flag control during work hours. Be prepared for possible delays when traveling through this area during project hours.


Road Closure: W. Spring Lake Rd., Taft St. to Hemlock Dr., June 17-29, 2024
WHAT: Permitted Road Closure
WHEN: June 17-29, 2024
WHERE: W. Spring Lake Rd.: Taft St. to Hemlock Dr. (W. Fruitport Rd.), Spring Lake Twp.
WHY: Sanitary Sewer Crossing
BACKGROUND: A private contractor has a permit to close W. Spring Lake Rd. between Taft St. and Hemlock Dr. (W. Fruitport Rd.) in Spring Lake Twp. in order to install sanitary sewer crossings in 2 spots.
Spring Lake Rd. will be closed from for 2 weeks starting June 17, 2024, through June 29, 2024.
TRAFFIC IMPACT: Taft St. to 168th Ave. to Hemlock Dr. (W. Fruitport Rd.)
Current Projects & Closures

TOWNSHIPROADSEGMENTWORKDATESTRAFFIC
GeorgetownVan Buren St.48th Ave. to 40th Ave.ResurfacingJune 20-July 17Lane Closures
OliveStanton St.U.S. 31 to 120th Ave.ResurfacingJune 19-July 4Road Closed
Wright14th Ave.Roosevelt St. to Hickory St.Culvert ReplacementJune 17-18Road Closed
Spring LakeW. Spring Lake Rd.Taft St.to Hemlock Dr.Sanitary CrossingJune 17-29Road Closed
ChesterGooding St.48th Ave. to 32nd Ave.ResurfacingJune 17-30Lane Closures
Chester32nd Ave.Wilson St. to Sehler St.ResurfacingJune 11-30Lane Closures
Chester32nd Ave.Harrisburg Rd. to Truman St.ResurfacingJune 11-30Lane Closures
Grand HavenFerris St.152nd Ave. to 168th Ave.Force MainJune 10-July 30Road Closed
Allendale64th Ave.Fillmore St. to M-45ResurfacingJune 10-28Lane Closures
Olive146th Ave. to 120th Ave.Culvert ReplacementJune 3-July 4Road ClosedAllendale
Allendale56th Ave.M-45 to Rich St.Sanitary SewerMay 28-July 12Road Closed
Holland106th Ave.At BL-196ReconstructionMay 28-Aug. 1Road Closed
Park1st Ave.South Shore Dr. to 32nd St.Sanitary Sewer/DrivewayMay 14-June 14Road Closed
RobinsonSleeper St.120th Ave. to 104th Ave.ReconstructionApril 8-July 19Road Closed
RobinsonGreen St.144th Ave. to 128th Ave.Bridge/Path WorkApril 1-Sept. 6Detour Map
OliveNew Holland St.U.S. 31 to 136th Ave.Culvert FailureMarch 29-June 24Road Closed
Allendale40th Ave.M-45 to Bliss St.Road ReconstructionMarch 19-June 30Detour Map
Polkton/Wright48th Ave.Roosevelt St. to Taft St.CulvertDec. 1-TBARoad Closed

Subdivision Resurfacing Program

TOWNSHIPTIMELINE
GeorgetownApril 29-July 31

All dates listed in the above tables are estimates and are subject to change without notice. Always obey all work zone and road closure signs and be sure to follow all posted detours.

Work With Us: You Play a Role in Work Zone Safety!
Lane closures, traffic pattern shifts and reduced speeds are common in work zones. Make sure to slow down when entering a work zone and keep an eye out for road workers.

Nutritious foods available for financially-qualifying households

OCCAA, with the help of local food pantries, will be distributing the following nutritious foods to financially-qualifying households in Ottawa County: UHT 1% Milk, Cran-apple Juice, Pinto Beans (canned), Diced Potatoes (canned), Spaghetti Sauce, Light Red Kidney Beans (canned), Raisins, Almonds, Green Beans (canned), Chicken (canned), Elbow Macaroni.

Foods are available at the following times and locations:

Thursday, June 20
3 – 4 p.m.
Salvation Army
104 Clover St.
Holland
616-392-4461

Friday, June 21
10 a.m. – Noon
St. Patrick’s Church
920 Fulton St.
Grand Haven
616-846-2701

Friday, June 28
10 a.m. – Noon
Church of the Saviour
180 N. 68th Ave.
Coopersville
616-997-8050

The following sites offer various food collection days and times all month long:

Wednesdays 11:30 a.m. – 5:30 p.m.
Saturdays 8 a.m. – 1 p.m.
Jehovah Jireh Ministries
More information online.

4055 Van Buren St.,
Hudsonville
616-209-7688

Mondays 9 a.m. – 3 p.m.
Wednesdays 1 p.m. – 6 p.m.
Thursdays 9 a.m. – Noon
Harvest Stand Ministries
100 S. Pine St., Suite 100, Zeeland
616-741-8250. Call for an appointment

Those who miss the distribution can contact a nearby pantry to collect food.
The food is provided through the Emergency Food Assistance Program of the USDA. To receive food, the household must be at or below the income guidelines OR a household member must participate in an income-based food program such as CSFP, WIC, FIP or SNAP. There are no age guidelines. Income, residency and family size are self-reported and no documentation is required.

Income guidelines are as follows:
Household Size Income
1 $30,120
2 $40,880
3 $51,640
4 $62,400
5 $73,160
6 $83,830

For households larger than six members, add $10,760 for each additional member.

Ottawa County Community Action Agency is an equal opportunity provider.
616-393-4433 or 1-800-764-4111 Ext. 4433

Road Resurfacing: Gooding St., 48th Ave. to 32nd Ave., Chester Twp., begins June 17, 2024

START DATE: Week of June 17, 2024

ESTIMATED FINISH: June 28, 2024

WHERE: Gooding St., 48th Ave. to 32nd Ave., Chester Twp.

WHY: Road Resurfacing

BACKGROUND: Beginning the week of June 17, 2024, contractors for the Ottawa County Road Commission will begin a resurfacing project on Gooding St. from 48th Ave. to 32nd Ave. in Chester Twp.

This project will consist of milling down existing asphalt, adding a 3-foot paved shoulder, resurfacing the road with 2 layers of new asphalt, and gravel shoulder restoration.

This project is expected to last through late June 28, 2024, however all work is weather dependent and completion dates are subject to change.

TRAFFIC IMPACT: The road will remain open to through traffic; however traffic will be maintained using temporary lane closures under flag control during work hours. Be prepared for possible delays when traveling through this area during project hours.
Gooding St. resurfacing map – June 2024

To view a map of all current road closures and resurfacing projects, visit our online OCRC Road Closures dashboard.

Road Closure: Ferris St., 168th Ave. to 152nd Ave., Grand Haven Twp., begins June 10, 2024

WHAT: Road Closure

WHEN: June 10-July 30, 2024

WHERE: Ferris St., 168th Ave. to 152nd Ave., Grand Haven Twp.

WHY: Force Main

BACKGROUND: A permitted Grand Haven Township force main project will result in Ferris Street closing between 152nd Ave. and 168th Ave. to through traffic beginning Monday, June 10, 2024. Property owners along Ferris St. will have access to their homes at all times.

This permitted road closure is expected to last until July 30.

Note: All dates are tentative, and all work is weather dependent.

DETOUR: The road will be closed to through traffic. A signed detour will utilize 152nd Ave./Lincoln St./U.S. 31.
GHT Ferris St Road Closure – June 10-July 30

RED: Closure Limits | GREEN: Detour Route

To view a map of all current road closures and resurfacing projects, visit our online OCRC Road Closures dashboard.

Road Resurfacing: 64th Ave., Fillmore St. to M-45, Allendale Twp., begins June 10

START DATE: Week of June 10, 2024

ESTIMATED FINISH: Late June

WHERE: 64th Ave., Fillmore St. to M-45, Allendale Twp.

WHY: Road Resurfacing

BACKGROUND: Beginning the week of June 10, 2024, contractors for the Ottawa County Road Commission will begin a resurfacing project on 64th Ave. from Fillmore St. to M-45 in Allendale Twp.

This project will consist of milling existing asphalt in valley curb & gutter and curb and gutter sections, resurfacing with new asphalt and topsoil restoration. The rest of 64th Ave. will consist of milling existing asphalt, adding a paved shoulder for a new road with of 24 feet, resurfacing with new asphalt, and gravel shoulder restoration.

Minor prep work prior to the beginning of the project will begin this week (June 3-7).

This project is expected to last through late June, however all work is weather dependent and completion dates are subject to change.

TRAFFIC IMPACT: The road will remain open to through traffic; however, traffic will be maintained using temporary lane closures under flag control during work hours. Be prepared for possible delays when traveling through this area during project hours.
64th Ave Resurfacing Project Map – Allendale Twp. 2024

To view a map of all current road closures and resurfacing projects, visit our online OCRC Road Closures dashboard.

Road Closure Update: New Holland St., U.S. 31 to 136th Ave., Olive Twp. Culvert repairs slated to take place week of June 17

DURATION: June 17-24, 2024

WHERE: New Holland St.: U.S. 31 to 136th Ave., Olive Twp.

WHY: Culvert Failure Repair

BACKGROUND: Contractors for the Ottawa County Road Commission will be making repairs to the failed culvert on New Holland St. between U.S. 31 and 136th Ave. in Olive Township the week of June 17, 2024.

The project is expected to last for one week, and the road will reopen once the repairs are completed.

The road has been closed since March following an on-site inspection by OCRC engineers who determined that there was a failed culvert. The OCRC was required to obtain and was waiting on necessary permits before work could take place on the repair.

TRAFFIC IMPACT: The current detour in place consisting of U.S. 31/Van Buren St./136th Ave. remains in place for the duration of the closure.
New Holland St. closure – US31 to 136th Ave

To view a map of all current road closures and resurfacing projects, visit our online OCRC Road Closures dashboard.

14110 Lakeshore Drive | Grand Haven, Michigan | 49417
616-842-5400 | Contact Us | Summer Office Hours: Monday-Thursday: 7 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., and Friday: 7-11 a.m.

The Ottawa County Road Commissioners:
Betty Gajewski | Kurt Van Koevering | Jim Miedema | Francisco Garcia | John Field Reichardt

Managing Director
Brett Laughlin

Who manages the roads and how are they funded?
The Ottawa County Road Commission manages the roads. The Ottawa County Road Commission is funded by fuel taxes, vehicle registrations and millage dedicated to the Ottawa County roads. Other property taxes you pay to Ottawa County do not fund road repairs or snow removal. Concerns about roads should be directed to the Ottawa County Road Commission. Questions? Use their contact form.

Road Closure: Church St., Cottonwood Dr. to Main St., Georgetown Twp., May 28-June 7

WHAT: Permitted Road Closure

DURATION: May 28-June 7, 2024

WHERE: Church St., Cottonwood Dr. to Main St., Georgetown Twp.

WHY: Road Work

BACKGROUND: Church St. from Cottonwood Dr. to Main St. in Georgetown Twp. will be closed beginning Tuesday, May 28, 2024, for permitted road work.

The permitted project is expected to last through June 7, 2024. Please note that all project completion dates are tentative and subject to change. Work is weather dependent.

TRAFFIC IMPACT: The road will be closed to through traffic.

To view a map of all current road closures and resurfacing projects, visit our online OCRC Road Closures dashboard.

Road Closure: 56th Ave., M-45 to Rich St., Allendale Twp., May 28-July 12

WHAT: Permitted Road Closure

DURATION: May 28-July 12, 2024

WHERE: 56th Ave., M-45 to Rich St., Allendale Twp.

WHY: Sanitary Sewer Installation

BACKGROUND: 56th Ave. between M-45 and Rich St. in Allendale Twp. will be closed beginning Tuesday, May 28, 2024, for a permitted sanitary sewer installation.

The permitted project is expected to last through July 12, 2024. Please note that all project completion dates are tentative and subject to change. Work is weather dependent.

TRAFFIC IMPACT: The road will be closed to through traffic. A posted detour route will consist of Rich St./48th Ave./M-45.

To view a map of all current road closures and resurfacing projects, visit our online OCRC Road Closures dashboard.

OCRC Weekly Construction Update: May 23, 2024

OCRC Construction Update

Listed below are current and planned road closures and construction projects heading into the next week.

Visit our website to check current road work and closures and view an interactive road work map.

You can also visit our website to view a list of all planned 2024 OCRC construction projects.

Be sure to follow our Facebook, Instagram and X (Twitter) accounts for up-to-date Road Commission information.

OCRC Memorial Day Holiday Schedule 2024

Road Closure: 56th Ave., M-45 to Rich St., Allendale Twp., May 28-July 12

WHAT: Permitted Road Closure

DURATION: May 28-July 12, 2024

WHERE: 56th Ave., M-45 to Rich St., Allendale Twp.

WHY: Sanitary Sewer Installation

BACKGROUND: 56th Ave. between M-45 and Rich St. in Allendale Twp. will be closed beginning Tuesday, May 28, 2024, for a permitted sanitary sewer installation.

The permitted project is expected to last through July 12, 2024. Please note that all project completion dates are tentative and subject to change. Work is weather dependent.

TRAFFIC IMPACT: The road will be closed to through traffic. A posted detour route will consist of Rich St./48th Ave./M-45.

Road Closure: Church St., Cottonwood Dr. to Main St., Georgetown Twp., May 28-June 7

WHAT: Permitted Road Closure

DURATION: May 28-June 7, 2024

WHERE: Church St., Cottonwood Dr. to Main St., Georgetown Twp.

WHY: Road Work

BACKGROUND: Church St. from Cottonwood Dr. to Main St. in Georgetown Twp. will be closed beginning Tuesday, May 28, 2024, for permitted road work.

The permitted project is expected to last through June 7, 2024. Please note that all project completion dates are tentative and subject to change. Work is weather dependent.

TRAFFIC IMPACT: The road will be closed to through traffic.


Current Closures & Projects

TOWNSHIPROADSEGMENTWORKDATESAUTHORITYTRAFFIC
Allendale64th Ave.Fillmore St.
to M-45
ResurfacingJune 12-28OCRCLane Closures
Allendale56th Ave.M-45 to Rich St.Sanitary
Sewer
May 28-July 12PermitRoad Closed – Detour Map
GeorgetownChurch St.Main St. to Cottonwood Dr.Road WorkMay 28-June 7PermitRoad Closed
Allendale/
Blendon
Fillmore St.72nd Ave.
to 48th Ave.
ResurfacingMay 20-June 7OCRCLane Closures
Park1st Ave.South Shore Dr. to 32nd St.Sanitary Sewer/
Driveway
May 14-June 14PermitRoad Closed – Detour Map
Olive/
Robinson
Fillmore St.120th Ave.
to 96th Ave.
ResurfacingMay 6-June 7OCRCLane Closures
RobinsonSleeper St.120th Ave. to 104th Ave.ReconstructApril 8-July 19OCRCRoad Closed
RobinsonGreen St.144th Ave. to 128th Ave.Bridge/
Path Work
April 1-Sept. 6PermitRoad Closed – Detour Map
OliveNew Holland St.U.S. 31
to 136th Ave.
Culvert
Failure
March 29-TBAOCRCRoad Closed – Detour Map
Allendale40th Ave.M-45 to Bliss St.Road ReconstructMarch 19-June 30PermitRoad Closed – Detour Map
Polkton/
Wright
48th Ave.Roosevelt St.
to Taft St.
CulvertDec. 1-TBAOCRCRoad Closed – Detour Map

Subdivision Resurfacing

TOWNSHIPTIMELINE
GeorgetownApril 29-July 31

All dates listed in the above tables are estimates and are subject to change without notice. Always obey all work zone and road closure signs and be sure to follow all posted detours.

If you have any questions about the information in this release, please email Alex Doty, Communications Administrator for the Ottawa County Road Commission: adoty@ottawacorc.com or call 616-850-7221.

Road Closure: Stanton St., 146th Ave. to 120th Ave., Olive Twp., begins June 3, 2024

Project consists of culvert replacement, road resurfacing

WHAT: Road Closure

WHEN: June 3-July 4, 2024

WHERE: Stanton St., 146th Ave. to 120th Ave., Olive Twp.

WHY: Culvert Repair/Resurfacing

BACKGROUND: The Ottawa County Road Commission will close Stanton Street between 146th Ave. and 120th Ave. in Olive Township beginning Monday, June 3, 2024, for a culvert replacement project and upcoming resurfacing work.

The culvert replacement is located immediately to the west of the 120th Ave./Stanton St. intersection. As a result of this work, local traffic will not be able to access Stanton St. from 120th Ave. during the culvert replacement portion of the project. All local traffic will be required to access the area from west.

The culvert replacement work is expected to last until June 21.

The closure will remain in place following the culvert replacement for a resurfacing project on Stanton Street between U.S. 31 and 120th Ave.

Work on Stanton St. between U.S. 31 and 142nd Ave. will consist of milling down existing asphalt, adding a paved shoulder, resurfacing the road with new asphalt, and gravel shoulder restoration.

Work on Stanton St. between 142nd Ave. and 120th Ave. will consist of crushing and shaping existing asphalt to gravel, grading material for new a new road width of 30 feet, resurfacing the road with new asphalt, and gravel shoulder restoration.

The resurfacing portion of the work is expected to last through July 4, 2024.

Note: All dates are tentative, and all work is weather dependent.

DETOUR: The road will be closed to thru traffic. A signed detour for Stanton St. will utilize 146th Ave./Fillmore St./120th Ave.

To view a map of all current road closures and resurfacing projects, visit our online OCRC Road Closures dashboard.

Road Closure: 16th Ave. south of Comstock St., Wright Twp., beginning June 3, 2024

WHAT: Road Closure

WHEN: June 3, 2024 (1 week)

WHERE: 16th Ave. south of Comstock St., Wright Twp.

WHY: Railroad Crossing Repair

BACKGROUND: The Ottawa County Road Commission has been notified that the Coopersville/Marne Railroad is scheduled to make repairs to the railroad grade crossing on 16th Avenue south of Comstock Street in Wright Township.

16th Avenue will completely closed off to traffic at the crossing starting Monday, June 3, 2024, and is expected to be closed for one week.

TRAFFIC IMPACT: A signed detour for 16th Avenue shall follow 16th Avenue south to Hayes Street, west to Ironwood Drive, west to 8th Avenue, north to Comstock Street, and then east to 16th Avenue

To view a map of all current road closures and resurfacing projects, visit our online OCRC Road Closures dashboard.

The Community Mental Health Board of Directors Meeting Date Change

Ottawa County
Attention: The Community Mental Health Board of Directors Meeting for May 24, 2024, has been rescheduled. The Community Mental Health Board of Directors Meeting will meet at 9AM in the Administration Building – Board Room – 12220 Fillmore, West Olive, on June 3, 2024.

For more information contact Community Mental Health at 616-392-1873.

Public Comment Sought at Ottawa Co. Transportation Committee Meeting on Oct. 5, 2023

The Muskegon and Northern Ottawa County Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO), which is responsible for transportation planning in the area, is seeking public comment on the transportation planning process. The planning process includes the existing 2045 Long Range Transportation Plan (LRTP), the 2050 Long Range Transportation Plan (LRTP), the Fiscal Year 2023 – 2026 Transportation Improvement Program (TIP), Federal Transit Administration (FTA) Program of Projects (POP), and other agenda items.

The TIP is developed in a cooperative effort between federal, state, and local officials and serves as the final link in the transportation planning process. Its primary purpose is to identify transportation programs and projects to be funded with federal aid in accordance with federal law and regulations. This plan is an outline of the transportation needs of Muskegon County and Northern Ottawa County for the next four years. The LRTP is a look at the MPO’s future transportation network and is to be used as a guideline for transportation investment. The FTA POP includes 5307 and 5308 funds for the Muskegon Area Transit System and Harbor Transit. Recommendations for new construction, safety improvements, congestion (traffic) management, air quality, non-motorized, transit, planning, etc. will be accepted.

A public comment period is scheduled at the MPO Technical Committee Meeting on October 5, 2023 at 1:30 p.m. The meeting is being held at the office of the West Michigan Shoreline Regional Development Commission, 316 Morris Avenue, Suite 340, Muskegon, Michigan. Meeting materials are available on the event calendar at www.wmsrdc.org and also on the meetings page at  https://wmsrdc.org/policy-meetings/.

You are receiving this correspondence because you, your agency, and/or organization are considered important in the transportation planning process. For more information or to view a hard copy of the meeting materials, contact Joel Fitzpatrick, Transportation Planning Director, WMSRDC, 316 Morris Avenue Suite 340, Muskegon Michigan 49440 (231) 722-7878 ext. 160, or by email at jfitzpatrick@wmsrdc.org. To garner additional outreach, please post this notice on public information boards if applicable.

Grand Explorers’ Trail Race on June 24

1st Annual Grand Explorers’ Trail Race

June 24, 8:00 a.m.
Grand River Park to Grand Ravines Park
10K • 5K • 1 Mile Kids Run/Walk/Craft

👟>> General Race Info & Registration <<👟

poster

Run through two beautiful Ottawa County Parks in one race! #2Parks1Race

What can we say? This trail race is Grand: Grand River, Grand Ravines, Grand bridges, and Grand views!

The course starts at Grand River County Park winding you through a natural surface trail until you hit the newly completed Idema Explorers Trail segment that leads you along the Grand River to Grand Ravines County Park. As you enter Grand Ravines, you will see an old, covered bridge and go up an incline to a spectacular view of the river. If you’re lucky, you might even see the resident bald eagles out fishing.

If you are running (or walking!) the 5K, you will turn around at this point. If you are running the 10K, you will continue to wind yourself through Grand Ravines Park, around the dog park, through the meadow, across the Idema suspension bridge, and back through the woods to Grand River Park.

Sounds pretty grand, doesn’t it?

Swing by the Grand River Park Lodge on Friday, June 23 from 4:00-7:00 pm to pick up your shirt/bib OR pick up your shirt/bib the morning of the event!

Why participate?
• Because your participation helps support our parks.
• Your participation will help bring awareness to parks and projects like the Grand River Greenway and the Idema Explorers Trail.
• Because parks are for everyone.
• Because parks, nature, and open spaces are essential for our mental and physical health.

Can’t participate the day of the race?
• If you want to support the parks but can’t come the day of the race, you can sign up to participate virtually! Virtual supporters will be guaranteed a shirt.

Find more details and race rules:
grandexplorerstrailrace.com
OR
Get updates on Facebook

Trail Maps and Courses

• Kids’ 1-mile Fun Run/Walk – $16/person
• 5k Course – $35/person
• 10k Course – $38/person

Directions to the Park
Please be aware that the start/finish area is at Grand River County Park. Google Maps will give you the correct routing to get there. Do not go to Grand Ravines North or South! These parks are nearly adjacent to each other and are similarly-named, which does cause confusion at times.

Public Comment Sought at Ottawa Co. Transportation Committee Meeting Tomorrow

Public Comment Sought at Transportation Committee Meeting on June 21, 2023
submitted by Joel Fitzpatrick, Transportation Planning Director, West Michigan Shoreline Regional Development Commission

The Muskegon and Northern Ottawa County Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO), which is responsible for transportation planning in the area, is seeking public comment on the transportation planning process. The planning process includes the 2045 Long Range Transportation Plan (LRTP), the development of the 2050 Long Range Transportation Plan (LRTP), the Fiscal Year 2023 – 2026 TIP, Federal Transit Administration (FTA) Program of Projects (POP), and other agenda items.

The TIP is developed in a cooperative effort between federal, state, and local officials and serves as the final link in the transportation planning process. Its primary purpose is to identify transportation programs and projects to be funded with federal aid in accordance with federal law and regulations. This plan is an outline of the transportation needs of Muskegon County and Northern Ottawa County for the next four years. The LRTP is a look at the MPO’s future transportation network and is to be used as a guideline for transportation investment. The FTA POP includes 5307 and 5308 funds for the Muskegon Area Transit System and Harbor Transit. Recommendations for new construction, safety improvements, congestion (traffic) management, air quality, non-motorized, transit, planning, etc. will be accepted.

A public comment period is scheduled at the MPO Policy Committee Meeting on June 21, 2023 at 1:30 p.m. The meeting is being held at the office of the West Michigan Shoreline Regional Development Commission, 316 Morris Avenue, Suite 340, Muskegon, Michigan. Meeting materials will be made available on the event calendar at www.wmsrdc.org and also on the meetings page at https://wmsrdc.org/policy-meetings/

MiFarmLink Cultivates New Connections

Program moves across state to continue preserving Michigan farms and farming communities.
submitted by Ottawa County, Michigan

corn
MiFarmLink, a program that connects beginning farmers with the land and resources they need to be successful, is moving to a new home at the Washtenaw County Conservation District. Ottawa County will continue to support MiFarmlink by providing outreach, training and staff support as the program makes the transition to the Southeast Michigan hub. Ottawa County will continue to serve as the hub in Western Michigan. [Photo by Rich C. Lakeberg/Ottawa County]

When you think of Michigan’s largest economic drivers, what comes to mind? Automotive has topped the list for decades, but agriculture is an important second. Michigan’s diverse food and ag system accounts for approximately $105 billion in economic activity annually. Though strong, the ag industry is contracting. Older farmers are leaving the industry faster than young farmers are coming in – at a rate of 4 to 1 – and while some older farmers have heirs, many do not. The good news is many first-generation farmers want to step into those shoes, but most are not from farming backgrounds and struggle to find land.

So how do we bring together these landless young farmers with those who are about to park their equipment for the last time? Michigan agricultural leaders and advocates knew they needed to focus on protecting farming’s very finite and critical asset – land.

Enter MiFarmLink.org, a platform where Michigan growers leaving the industry can post their land where new farmers in need of acreage can find it. 

becky
Becky Huttenga, Ottawa County Economic Development Coordinator

“Other states have successful platforms to connect and support farmers of all ages,” said Becky Huttenga, economic development coordinator for Ottawa County, which is third-largest agricultural economy in Michigan. “There are plenty of resources out there for Michiganders interested in farming, but we as a state lacked a sort of one-stop shop. With MIFarmLink, we created just that.

As an agricultural and food processing leader with the fastest growing population in the state, it made sense for Ottawa County to be the first hub for MiFarmLink. Since its initial launch in 2021 with funds from the United States Department of Agriculture’s Beginning  Farmer and Rancher Development Program, MiFarmLink has connected farmers from Leelanau to Washtenaw and features information about land for sale, succession planning, mentorship and events. Now, the MiFarmLink baton is being passed to the Washtenaw County Conservation District (WCCD).

“As home to the largest number of beginning farmers in the State, and with large diversified and thriving direct markets, Washtenaw County is an ideal location to start an agricultural business,” said WCCD Executive Director Megan DeLeeuw. “Which is why it is also the perfect place to continue to build MiFarmLink.”

The website garnered the attention of Ann Arbor Natural Area Preservation’s Land Acquisition and Sustainability Deputy Manager Remy Long. He was amazed by the timing.

“Washtenaw region land protection specialists have long recognized the need for a platform like MIFarmLink and were finally about to start fundraising to create one when I heard about the work Ottawa County was doing,” said Long.

He connected Ottawa County with land preservationist Trilby MacDonald, who had been leading the effort to create a land-link program in Washtenaw County.  “As a former farmer who struggled to buy land, watching the conversion of farmland to developments is especially painful,” said MacDonald. “Conservation leaders had talked about the need to develop a tool to connect farmers for years, but nothing happened. So I volunteered to get local conservation leaders together to gather data and raise money.”

MacDonald, Huttenga and DeLeeuw worked together to obtain two years of financial support from The Americana Foundation, Towsley Foundation, and the Carls Foundation, organizations that Huttenga describes as “leaders in community programming that appreciate the need to support our first generation and underserved farmers as they pursue their dreams in agriculture.” Their support has allowed for MiFarmLink’s next phase of growth in southeast Michigan. 

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Sam Stokes, New MiFarmLink Coordinator, farmer 

A Washtenaw County local, Sam Stokes, has been hired by the WCCD to serve as the full time MiFarmLink coordinator. “As a farmer in the southeast Michigan region, this project really grabbed my attention,” said Stokes. “The cost of land and the rate at which it’s being sold for development is just frightening, and MiFarmLink will be a great tool to get land into the hands of new farmers and protect it from conversion into housing, commercial, industrial or other non-farm uses.

MiFarmLink will grow under the guidance of an advisory committee made up of leaders from the agricultural community who are dedicating their time and expertise to make MiFarmLink a platform and program that represents and serves their communities. These advisory committee members each wear numerous “hats” within the food system that include – but are not limited to – land preservationists, beginning and first-generation farmers, legacy farmers, agricultural landowners, food systems experts, educators, advocates and community organizers.

To stay up-to-date on MiFarmLink, you can subscribe to their E-newsletter, keep tabs on the website and follow/like the Facebook page

Parks & Public Health Team Up to Offer “Step it Up!”

Walking Program free in Ottawa & Allegan counties

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click to view full file

Get signed up for Step it Up!, a free, 8-week program created in partnership by Ottawa County’s Parks & Recreation and the Department of Public Health. Step it Up! was designed to help participants get active and visit new parks. All levels of fitness are welcome!

Participants will be able to set activity goals and track their activity through the Step it Up! online platform. Participants can also look forward to:

  • Guided group walks and group adventures
  • Discovering new parks in Ottawa and Allegan counties
  • Meeting new people
  • Motivation and accountability by logging activity and setting goals
  • Incentive prizes

The program begins May 2! To sign up, visit: miottawa.org/stepitup

👟 >> Click here to sign for Step it Up! today << 👟

Group Walks & Activities
In order to help participants stay active throughout the program, there are weekly walks – lead by a guide – in Ottawa and Allegan Counties! To encourage participants to discover new recreational activities, the program also offers opportunities to try kayaking and orienteering. These activities and necessary equipment are free-of-charge to registered participants.

Click here for the walk and activity schedule.

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click to view full file

Step it Up! begins May 2
Sign up today! miOttawa.org/stepitup

Rep. VanWoerkom Sworn in to Represent New 88th House District

Rep. invites residents to contact office at new phone number

State Rep. Greg VanWoerkom (R-Norton Shores) was sworn into office for his third term today. He now represents the people of Michigan’s new 88th House District, which encompasses parts of Muskegon and Ottawa counties, including Ferrysburg, Grand Haven, Spring Lake, Norton Shores, and the townships of Crockery, Olive, Port Sheldon, and Robinson.

The representative said he is eager to get to work addressing the issues that matter to West Michigan residents, such as inflation relief, public safety, parental involvement in education, access to child care and more.

“I represent a new district, the House is under new leadership, and our state is facing new challenges,” VanWoerkom said. “I am ready to get to work and continue to be a voice for the people of West Michigan. I am confident House Republicans and Democrats will be able to find common ground on the important issues facing our great state.”

Rep. VanWoerkom invites residents to contact his new 88th District office with any concerns, thoughts or ideas about state government and legislation by phone at (517) 373-1830 or by addressing mail to N-1192 Anderson House Office Building, P.O. Box 30014, Lansing, MI 48909. His email address, GregVanWoerkom@House.MI.gov, remains the same.

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From right to left, Rep. Greg VanWoerkom is joined by his mother, Valerie VanWoerkom, his son and daughter, Ewan and Rowan VanWoerkom, and his father, Jerry VanWoerkom, former Michigan representative and senator, as he is sworn in for his third term by House Clerk Gary Randall.

OCRC Reminds Motorists to be Safe, Alert This Winter Season

Ottawa County Road Commission crews are working hard to help keep area roadways clear during our first major snow event of the 2022-23 winter maintenance season.

As our crews begin to share the road with area drivers, the OCRC is offering up some tips and information on winter operations, from plowing priorities to snow plow safety.

Plowing Priorities

Winter maintenance operations are conducted in accordance with the established priority system based on traffic volumes, road classification, and location.

The priorities are as follows:

1 – State Trunklines (i.e. I-96, I-196, US-31, M-45)
2 – Multi-lane Primary Roads
3 – Primary Roads
4 – Local Paved Roads
5 – Subdivision Streets
6 – Local Gravel Roads
7 – Dead End Streets and Cul-de-sacs

Tips For Driving

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Do not attempt to pass snow plow vehicles while they are plowing. Never attempt to pass a snow plow on the right.

Do not crowd the plow! Plow drivers have limited visibility and they cannot see directly behind their trucks. Please be aware that snow plow trucks may back up at intersections.

Be sure your windshield is clear of ice and snow. Make sure washer fluids are full, tires have proper air pressure and tread, and your vehicle is equipped with essential emergency equipment.

Posted speeds are for ideal road conditions. Michigan law requires motorists to drive at a “careful and prudent speed” in all conditions. Reduce speeds and increase following distances. Accelerate and brake slowly and avoid over-steering.

Beware of ice patches. Bridges and overpasses freeze first.

Avoid distractions. Don’t talk on your cell or text.

Always wear your safety belt. Ensure that all passengers are properly buckled, and children are in appropriate child-restraints.

Keep Away from the Road

Our plow drivers often deal with low visibility during winter weather events. Snow is constantly flying onto the windshield and around the plow truck. These conditions make it a challenge for our drivers to see anyone along the road — both children playing and homeowners shoveling or blowing snow on their driveways.

Just because you can see or hear the plow truck doesn’t mean the driver can see you! Make sure your far enough off of the road and away from the truck when it is operating in your vicinity. 

Plows can throw large chunks of ice into ditches when plowing, these chunks of snow and ice could cause you to become injured.

Make sure you remind your children that it is never a good idea to tunnel into snow or build forts in the snowbanks along the side of the road. Our drivers will not be able to see you, and if you’re in the tunnel, you could be “snowed in” when a truck plows next to you.

January 3 Ottawa County Board of Commissioners Meeting

The first Board of Commissioners meeting of 2023 will be held on January 3, 2023 at 8:30 a.m. This meeting is known as the Organizational Meeting and the board will be sworn in and details such as committee assignments and meeting schedules will be determined. The meeting takes place in the Board Room at 12220 Fillmore Street, West Olive and is open to the public. The meeting opens and closes with an opportunity for the public to comment. Comments can also be submitted online at miOttawa.org. The meeting can also be watched on YouTube.

A Home for the Holidays: Ottawa Celebrates Adoption Day

Courts host Adoption Day Celebration on November 22

The holiday to give thanks is upon us and the importance of family is top of mind. Families come together in many of ways, one of which, is adoption. Recognized nationally since 1995 and statewide since 2002, November is Adoption Month. Locally, the 20th Circuit and Ottawa County Probate Courts celebrate Adoption Day alongside the Michigan Supreme Court on the Tuesday prior to Thanksgiving. To honor this tradition, the Court will host its twentieth event in hopes it will inspire some to open their hearts and homes to consider foster care and adoption.

With great joy, the Court will kick off what is warmly known as the “happiest day at the court” with a brief ceremony on Tuesday, November 22 at 9:00am. Confirmation hearings presided by Chief Probate Court Judge, Mark A. Feyen and Family Division Judge, Kent D. Engle, will follow. All events will take place at the Fillmore Complex in West Olive.

Please join us in celebrating the families who choose to open their hearts to these children and provide them with their forever home.

Local and State Adoption Facts:

  • In fiscal year 2022, more than 1,600 Michigan children were adopted through the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services or private agencies.
  • At any given time, there are approximately 10,300 children in Michigan’s foster care system and of those, nearly 250 children are in need of a forever family through adoption.
  • Typically, adoptions are finalized in private, but on Adoption Day, more than 30 courts statewide are expected to host events, to raise awareness and to inspire more families to think about adoption.
  • People can adopt whether they are single or married. They do not have to be wealthy or own their own home but must have adequate financial resources to provide for a family.
  • Children in the foster care system become eligible for adoption following termination of parental rights due to abuse or neglect. The goal for most children in the foster care system is reunification with their families.
  • There is support for families who want to adopt. In fact, approximately 95 percent of children who are available for adoption qualify for assistance to help families with some of the costs of bringing children into their homes.
  • More information is available at the Michigan Adoption Resource Exchange website:  https://www.mare.org/.

Ottawa County Clerk & Elections Coordinator Answering Your Elections Questions – 10/25/22

Ottawa County Clerk Justin Roebuck and Elections Coordinator Katie Sims to Answer Elections Questions

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West Olive – We hope you’ll join us at Loutit District Library in Grand Haven on Tuesday, October 25th for our third Community Conversation! Come with your questions regarding elections in Ottawa County. We encourage you to RSVP and submit questions ahead of time though it is not required. We are so excited to have the opportunity to host these events and further our goal of being an accessible resource to the residents of Ottawa County.

Keep up to date and receive election information by email or text Ottawa Votes to GOV-311 (468-311) to receive text messages.

Waterman Selected as Deputy Ottawa County Administrator

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After wading through a pool of 47 applicants, Ottawa County Administrator John Shay announced today that Patrick Waterman has been selected to serve as the next Deputy County Administrator. Waterman’s contract was approved at the Ottawa County Board of Commissioners meeting on September 27.

“We are thrilled to have Patrick join the Ottawa County Team,” said Shay. “His many years in city management, community development and municipal planning will serve the residents well.”

Waterman has been a resident and public servant of Ottawa County for over twenty years. He and his family currently reside in the City of Hudsonville where he has served as City Manager since 2010. During his time there, Waterman led the city’s efforts to revitalize their downtown and expand pedestrian connectivity. He was instrumental in the completion of several economic development and quality of life enhancement projects. Prior to Hudsonville, Waterman served as the Community Development Director for Grand Haven Charter Township for eight years. He also has over a decade of private sector experience, having worked for various municipal planning and engineering consulting firms in Michigan.

Waterman received his Bachelor of Science in Urban and Regional Planning from Michigan State University, and Master of Public Administration from Grand Valley State University. He is a certified professional planner with the American Institute of Certified Planners.

“I am very excited to begin this next chapter of my career,” said Waterman. “I have a tremendous amount of admiration and respect for Ottawa County. Their reputation as a model of efficiency, collaboration, and innovation is recognized statewide, traits that can only be attributed to the county’s exceptional leadership and capable team of dedicated employees.

It has been a tremendous honor and privilege to serve the wonderful community of Hudsonville these past twelve years. I now look forward to the opportunity to take on new challenges and serve at the county level.”

Patrick Waterman will fill the position vacated when John Shay was promoted to County Administrator in March of 2022. The Deputy County Administrator position pays $158,000 per year and Waterman will take his post on November 21.

Ottawa County Ranks Among the Top Healthiest Counties in Michigan

(HOLLAND, MI.) – According to the 2022 County Health Rankings (CHR), Ottawa County ranks among the healthiest counties in Michigan. The annual report ranks Michigan counties based on data collected in two areas: Health Outcomes and Health Factors. Ottawa County ranked number two out of 83 counties in the State of Michigan in both categories.

The current overall health of Ottawa County residents is measured in the Health Outcomes category, which tracks data for five health measures in the areas of Length of Life and Quality of Life.

The future health of county residents is highlighted in the Health Factors category, which tracks 30 health measures in the areas of Health Behaviors, Clinical Care, Social and Economic Factors and Physical Environment.

  • Ottawa County did as well or better than Michigan’s overall rating in 80% of measures.
  • Compared to top U.S. performing counties, Ottawa County met or exceeded 26% of the benchmark measures.

The CHR also highlights opportunities for improvement.

Ottawa County does not compare favorably to top performing counties for:

  • Access to primary care (medical, dental and mental health providers). Though Ottawa County has consistently underperformed in these provider access measures by comparison, its people maintain a high level of overall health as reflected in top rankings for Length of Life and Quality of Life. These two areas mirror the current health of a community. The Ottawa County community has taken deliberate action through its Community Health Improvement Plan to help residents navigate the often complicated health care system and to create solutions that fill gaps.
  • Air quality concerns, due to the geographic position we share with other counties along the lakeshore in southwest Michigan, are captured by one of the measures in an area called Physical Environment, where Ottawa County has consistently ranked lower than other Michigan counties and top U.S. performing counties. Despite the current ranking, air quality in Ottawa County has improved over the last two decades.

Other areas where Ottawa County has opportunities to improve involve addressing social determinants of health such as:

  • Violent crime, where Ottawa County ranked higher than other Michigan counties, but lower than top U.S. performing counties.
  • Excessive drinking increased to 22% of the adult population in this year’s rankings and alcohol-impaired driving deaths remained elevated with 30% of motor vehicle crash deaths involving alcohol.
  • Driving alone to work remains a common practice in Ottawa County (82%), slightly higher than the State of Michigan and much higher than top-performing counties across the U.S.

For more information, see the County Health Rankings & Roadmaps information for Michigan.

Ottawa County to Break Ground on New Family Justice Center

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Architect Rendering

Ottawa County officials are set to break ground on the new Family Justice Center with a ceremony on June 9 at 10 a.m. The new 56,000-square-foot facility will bring all of the departments of the 20th Circuit Court’s Family Division under one roof on the West Olive campus. This includes Juvenile Court, Friend of the Court and other related offices to provide coordinated and centralized services to residents.

Date, time and location of groundbreaking ceremony:

  • Thursday, June 9, 10-11 a.m.
  • Ottawa County Fillmore Complex, Parking Lot C

Ottawa County awarded the project as an Integrated Project Delivery agreement with Granger Construction, DLZ Michigan, Steel Supply & Engineering, Allied Mechanical Systems, Buist Electric and Accurate Controls. Including designers, contractors and key subcontractors in early project planning is intended to keep costs on target, incentivize savings and result in a well-designed and thoughtfully-constructed facility. 

Facilities studies dating as far back as 2006 had identified inadequacies in the court facilities in West Olive including insufficient courtroom space and acoustics; lack of privacy for clients and attorneys; no separate waiting spaces for victims or witnesses; lack of ADA compliant restrooms; and other shortcomings.

The anticipated completion date of the new Family Justice Center is Spring 2024.

Ottawa County Medication Take Back Event – April 30th

Remove the Risk from your Home – Ottawa County Medication Take Back Event
Spectrum Health Zeeland Community Hospital
Saturday, April 30 from 10am-2pm

Proper disposal of medications, sharps, and vapes is not only good for the environment but it provides a safe method to remove these items from your home.  Community Mental Health of Ottawa County and Spectrum Health Zeeland Community Hospital are partnering with Michigan OPEN and the Ottawa County Sheriff’s Department to host a medication take back event on Saturday, April 30th from 10am-2pm.

This will be a drive thru event to ensure the safety of everyone participating.  Please bring any unused or expired medications, sharps, or vapes to be safely disposed of.  We will be offering medication lock boxes as well as Narcan training/distribution for those who are interested.

Did you know?

  • Every 10 minutes a child visits the emergency room for medication poisoning.
  • 12.5 million people age 12 and older misused opioids in the last year.
  • Three in five teens say prescription pain medication is easy for them to get from their parents’ medicine cabinet.

Community medication take back events provide a safe process for disposing of unused medications, sharps, and vapes while protecting our communities, children, and environment.

We encourage you to remove the risk from your home and bring your unused medications, sharps, and vapes to Spectrum Health Zeeland Community Hospital at 8333 Felch Street, Zeeland, Michigan 49464 this Saturday, April 30th from 10am-2pm.

If you would like more information or have questions contact cmhcustomerservices@miottawa.org or call 616-494-5545.

New Public Defender Appointed for Ottawa County

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Nichole Jongsma Derks is the newest Public Defender for Ottawa County. The Public Defender post was vacated earlier this year upon the retirement of Robert Hamilton.

“I am humbled to serve as the Public Defender for Ottawa County and build on the firm foundation we established with our first Public Defender, Mr. Robert Hamilton,” said Derks upon her appointment. “The outcome a person receives in the criminal justice system should not depend on their ability to pay their defense attorney. I am proud to lead an elite and diverse team of litigators who believe in this mission as we represent our fellow citizens.”

Derks served as First Assistant Public Defender for Ottawa County since 2018. Prior to joining the County, she practiced criminal defense and litigation at Foster, Swift, Collins, and Smith PC. Derks attended The Ohio State University for her undergraduate studies and earned her juris doctorate at Michigan State University College of Law. Nichole Jongsma Derks is an Ottawa County native who was born in Zeeland and raised in Jenison.

New Chief Deputy County Clerk Appointed for Ottawa County

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GRAND HAVEN: Ottawa County Clerk and Register of Deeds Justin Roebuck announced that as of March 7, 2022, he has appointed Renee Kuiper as Chief Deputy County Clerk. The Chief Deputy Clerk position was previously held by Sherri Sayles, who retired in December of 2021 after 33 years of service with Ottawa County.

Kuiper has served in the Circuit Court Records Division of the County Clerk’s Office since 2013, where she has led the way for the department on numerous technology projects such as the implementation of a new jury management system in 2016, and as the project manager for the Clerk’s Office as Ottawa County’s 20th Circuit Court implemented the Michigan Judiciary’s Electronic Filing System, serving as a state pilot. Kuiper also serves as the Site Emergency Coordinator for the Grand Haven Courthouse, where she works closely with County Emergency Management to update site emergency plans, and actively plans drills and conducts staff exercises for the Courthouse facility.

“I am excited to appoint Renee Kuiper to this critical leadership role within our department”, said Roebuck. “As someone I have worked closely with for a number of years, I know that Renee embodies the values and culture of our team and of Ottawa County as an organization.”

Kuiper received her undergraduate degree from Arizona State University and her J.D. from Western Michigan University Thomas M. Cooley Law School. She resides in Allendale with her husband Cameron and two children Rhys, 5, and Marlowe, 1.

Shady Side Farm Awarded MDARD Farmland Preservation Funds

Olive Township grower is one step closer to preserving 123 acres; applications for PDR program being accepted through end of April

WEST OLIVE – Mike Bronkema, co-owner and operator of Shady Side Farm in Olive Township, is no stranger to the idea of farmland preservation. “In ’92 we bought the farm that we’re on,” said the Holland-area native. “The farmer that sold me the land that I’m on wanted to see it preserved. He wanted me to buy the farm because he knew I was going to farm it instead of subdividing it.” Years later, Bronkema was part of the committee that helped push for the Agriculture Preservation Board he sits on today. “I realized that preserving farmland in Ottawa County was important, and that whatever we did had to benefit the farmers.”

Now, with a $168,750 grant from the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, the Bronkemas will be able to rest easy knowing the farm they’ve built over 30 years will continue to produce long after they’ve shorn their last sheep. These funds will help pay for an agricultural easement to permanently protect five parcels totaling 123 acres.

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Shady Side Farm as seen from above in Olive Township. Run by the Bronkema family, their 123-acre operation is now one step closer to preservation thanks to a $168,750 grant from the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development. [Ottawa County photos]

But getting to this point wasn’t easy. Supporting the program and qualifying to protect your own operation are two very different things. “(Sitting on the board) has nothing to do with it,” Bronkema mused. “Put it this way. It’s all the practices that you put in, in your farming, on your farm – in things that you’re doing to improve sustainability in your farm is what gets you approved for farmland preservation.”

The Bronkemas will be the sixth farming family to protect their land through Ottawa County’s Purchase of Development Rights (PDR) program. This program uses a combination of state and/or federal grant funding, private donations, and landowner contributions to purchase the development rights to farmland, creating a permanent agricultural conservation easement.

Creating easements through the sale of development rights guarantees the land is used for ag purposes or remains in a natural state in perpetuity. Landowners are compensated for lost development potential, yet still own the land and retain all other rights associated with it. The Bronkema easement brings the total number of acres protected by the PDR program to 566. This is in addition to 654 acres permanently preserved by the State of Michigan.

PDR applications being accepted through April 30

Interested in protecting your own farm, or know someone who might? Now through April 30, farmers and other landowners can apply to preserve their eligible, agriculturally zoned property by selling its development rights. Start the process today by completing a preapplication at bit.ly/OCPDRapp.

For more information on the Purchase of Development Rights Program, and other County efforts to ensure our vibrant local agricultural industry continues to thrive for generations, visit www.MiOttawa.org/Farmland.

About the Ottawa County Farmland Preservation Program

With area farmers producing more than $506 million in products annually (2017 Ag Census), Ottawa County is an agricultural powerhouse. Ottawa is also the fastest growing county in the state and has a low unemployment rate. But this positive growth comes at a cost to agriculture: between 2012 and 2017, Ottawa County lost 8 percent of its farmed acreage and 17 percent of its farms. Ottawa County’s Farmland Preservation Program seeks to protect this vital industry and slow the loss of farms and farmland through programmatic efforts, including the Purchase of Development Rights Program.

Funded through a combination of private donations and state and federal grants, the PDR program preserves farmland through the purchase and donation of development rights for actively farmed property. This voluntary program allows participating landowners to receive compensation for the development potential of their land, yet still retain ownership and other rights associated with it through a permanent easement.

To learn more, visit MiOttawa.org/Farmland.

Ottawa County Board Votes John Shay as next Administrator

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John Shay

March 24, 2022 – By a unanimous vote, the Ottawa County Board of Commissioners have extended an offer to John Shay to serve as the next County Administrator. Terms of the contract including wages and other benefits will be finalized in the coming weeks.

Shay began his service to Ottawa County as Deputy County Administrator in June of 2018. Before that, Shay served 15 years as the Ludington City Manager and a as Village Manager of Almont for the five-years prior. He received his Bachelor of Arts in History from Boston College and Master of Public Administration from Oakland University.

Outside of his work for Ottawa County, Shay governs on the Football Field as an official for the Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association. John and his wife, Carla, have three children.

John Shay replaces former County Administrator Al Vanderberg who left in July of 2021 to become the Kent County Administrator. Shay will begin his duties as County Administrator pending the approval of an employment contract.

“I am very honored to officially be named Ottawa County’s next Administrator and to lead a dedicated team of public servants, providing excellent public services in a cost-effective manner,” said Shay.

Sign of Spring: Severe Weather Warning Siren Test

The first of several monthly outdoor warning siren tests for 2022 in Ottawa County will happen on Friday, April 1 at noon. These tests will continue through October on the first Friday of each month.

The warning sirens are designed to alert those who are outdoors of an imminent hazard, most often severe weather, prompting them to find shelter and seek further information. Sirens can typically be heard (outdoors) within a mile radius from their sounding location. More at details are available at www.miottawa.org/Sheriff/sirens.htm.

The tests are good reminders for residents to prepare for severe weather by having emergency supplies in their homes, such as water, flashlights, non-perishable foods and other items. Learn more about building a kit at www.ready.gov/build-a-kit.  

Outdoor warning sirens represent only one part of a broader public emergency notification system. Other components include National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration All-Hazards Weather Radio, law enforcement, emergency management, text notification networks, private sector meteorologists and the media. Smartphone apps can also provide notification of weather watches and warnings.

Ottawa County Broadband Internet Initiative Marches Forward

Internet survey data being analyzed; county and partners prepare for next steps

Since June 2021, Ottawa County – in collaboration with Merit Network, Inc. – has been surveying area residents and businesses to capture a more accurate picture of local high-speed internet access and connection speeds. This data includes – but is not limited to – households with access to broadband and those without; households struggling to pay for broadband; and the reliability of existing broadband networks. This survey and data collection effort is part of a larger Comprehensive Digital Inclusion Strategy, a four-part initiative to ultimately establish universal access to affordable and reliable broadband throughout Ottawa County.

Next steps: Analyzing the data, developing solutions
Merit Network has been diligently analyzing and compiling the data collected during last year’s surveying efforts. Soon Merit will be presenting its findings to the Ottawa County Broadband Data Collection Steering Committee, Ottawa County officials, and Urban Wireless. With report in hand, Urban Wireless – with support from Ottawa County – will then develop a feasibility analysis, a preliminary engineering design, and a cost model.

Public-private partnerships are key
The Digital Inclusion Strategy will also be heavily dependent upon the development of strong public/private partnerships. “With a project of this magnitude, Ottawa County cannot go it alone,” said Paul Sachs. “We need to partner with internet service providers, fiber providers and equipment providers among others to bring this plan to fruition.” Some preliminary discussions have been had with companies operating in the region; as the weeks go by, the County anticipates more companies will express interest in the initiative.

Network managed as a public-private partnership
Once the broadband network is developed, Ottawa County expects it will have an ownership interest. However, this does not mean the County is interested in operating its own broadband network. The County’s interest would be that of deploying and owning the infrastructure, such as conduits to facilitate fiber lines, and towers where wireless is expected to be deployed. This infrastructure would then be leased to any providers that wish to sell their service in Ottawa County. Pursuing this model has potential benefits:
• It greatly reduces the amount of capital a service provider has to expend to provide broadband service in Ottawa County.
• It would likely keep prices reasonable by providing multiple service options and creating competition among the providers.

How will this work be funded?
Funding will come from a variety of resources. There are numerous grants, including ARPA (American Rescue Plan Act) and the recently enacted Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA), just to name a few. The specific grants for which Ottawa County is eligible depends in large part upon the results of its data collection. It is also not beyond the realm of possibility that the County could look to its constituents for some contributions.

For more information on Ottawa County’s Digital Inclusion Strategy and how to participate, check the Digital Inclusion website often or contact the Ottawa County Department of Strategic Impact at plan@miottawa.org.

Ottawa County Administrator Finalist Interview to be Held in Public

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John Shay

Following an extensive national search, a selection committee is recommending that the Ottawa County Board of Commissioners move forward with a familiar candidate, John Shay, for consideration as the next County Administrator. Shay is currently serving as the Interim County Administrator and has been in the role of Deputy County Administrator since 2018. As part of its regular meeting, the Board will be conducting a Public Interview Session on March 24 at 5PM with Shay. The interview will be held in the Board Room located at 12220 Fillmore Street in West Olive. The public is invited to submit potential interview questions via miOttawa.org. On March 24, residents can watch the interview unfold live online or in person.

There were 36 applicants for the post of County Administrator. Four of those applicants were interviewed for the position. The selection committee for the County Administrator included outgoing Board Chair, Roger Bergman, current Board Chair, Matthew Fenske, and current Vice Chair, Allen Dannenberg plus citizen representative from each of the four county quadrants. Those individuals were Monica Verplank, northwest; Michelle Fare, southeast; Jose Gomez, northeast; and Jennifer Owens, southwest.

Apply Now for the Citizen Police Academy (Ottawa County)

submitted by the Ottawa County Sheriff’s Office

If you cannot make it this year or the course is full, watch for future trainings and sign up to be notified.

The multi-session Citizen Police Academy offers 25 citizens an inside look at law enforcement. Sessions are from 6 to 9PM on Thursdays from May 5 through June 30. Potential candidates for the Citizen Police Academy must meet the following criteria:

  • Minimum age of 18
  • Live or work in Ottawa County
  • No misdemeanor arrests within one year of application
  • No prior felony arrests

Applications will be processed on a first-come-first-serve basis. Pending a background check and eligibility, applicants will be notified of their acceptance into the academy near April 15.

Topics covered in the academy include Road Patrol, Corrections, 911 Central Dispatch, Undercover Investigations, Narcotics, Marine Patrol, Dive Team, K9 Unit, E-Unit, Criminal Scientific Support Unit, Crime Scene Investigation, Firearms, Range, Simulator, Special Operations, Legal System, Accident Investigations and Community Policing. Most sessions will be held at the West Olive Fillmore Complex 12220 Fillmore Street, West Olive, MI 49460. The location of the session may vary depending on the topic.

For more information on the Citizen Police Academy and the selection process please contact Sergeant Ryan DeVries at (616) 738-4038.

Sign Up Now for Free “Step it Up” Walking Program

Parks & Public Health team up to offer Step it Up! Walking Program free in Ottawa & Allegan counties 

Get signed up for Step it Up!, a free, 8-week program created in partnership by Ottawa County’s Parks & Recreation and the Department of Public Health. Step it Up! was designed to help participants get active and visit new parks. All levels of fitness are welcome! 

Participants will be able to set activity goals and track their activity through the Step it Up! online platform. Each week, participants who track their activity are eligible for incentive prizes.

Participants can also look forward to:

  • Guided group walks with varying paces & guided group adventures
  • Discovering new parks in Ottawa and Allegan counties
  • Meeting new people
  • Motivation and accountability by logging activity and setting goals
  • Incentive prizes

The program begins April 11! To sign up, visit: miottawa.org/stepitup

>> Click here to sign for Step it Up! today << 

stepitup

Ottawa County Roads’ Seasonal Weight Restrictions Begin Tuesday, March 1

Seasonal weight restrictions go into effect Tuesday, March 1, at 6 a.m.

The Ottawa County Road Commission gives notice that at 6 a.m. Tuesday, March 1, 2022, spring weight restrictions will be in effect and strictly enforced on all county roads under their jurisdiction.

The Road Commission has implemented a 24-hour-a-day recorded answering system for the public to use to check the status of the seasonal weight restrictions. To access this message system please call (616) 842-0086 or 1-800-394-0290.

You can also visit our website, https://www.ottawacorc.com/, to find the latest information about seasonal weight restrictions, as well as obtain all trucking-related maps and permit information. 

For a statewide list of counties and their weight restriction status, visit the County Road
Association of Michigan’s Seasonal Weight Restriction website at https://micountyroads.org/business/.

Why seasonal weight restrictions are necessary

By law, road agencies can enact weight restrictions on any roads not designed as “all
season” roads. All season roads are much thicker and designed to allow trucking year-around.

The Road Commission employs weighmasters who enforce seasonal weight restrictions on county roads.

Weight restrictions lower axle loading limits and reduce maximum travel speeds for certain vehicles.

The Road Commission must strike a balance between “business as usual” and protecting the roads when determining to implement seasonal weight restrictions.

Road damage caused by heavy vehicles during winter and spring thaw periods is a problem that affects all northern states.

roads

Unless a roadway has been designed and constructed for heavy vehicle loads year-round and designated to be an “all season” road, a significant loss of pavement strength occurs during a seasonal thaw.

The damage to a road is directly related to the amount and frequency of the loading applied.

Michigan law provides that the months of March, April and May are automatically reduced loading months, but the statute also allows the Road Commission to implement those restrictions earlier, or suspend reduced loading, depending upon the weather and road conditions.

Area Emergency Managers to Host Virtual Townhall Meetings on Regional Mitigation Plan

submitted by Ottawa County

Grand Rapids, Michigan – Kent and Ottawa Counties and the City of Grand Rapids are holding three virtual townhall meetings to gather stakeholder input on the Regional Hazard Mitigation Plan. This plan is a comprehensive analysis of our regional hazards and vulnerabilities and potential ways to decrease the effects of those hazards. The regional plan is a requirement to be eligible for FEMA Hazard Mitigation Grant Funds for pre and post disasters.

Each of the three regional partners have a designated virtual townhall; however, the public is welcome to participate in any of the meetings.

• Ottawa County ∙ February 9, 2022 ∙ 6:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.
• Kent County ∙ February 16, 2022 ∙ 6:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.
• City of Grand Rapids ∙ February 23, 2022 ∙ 6:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.

These virtual meetings are a great opportunity for residents to learn about the Regional Hazard Mitigation Plan, ask questions and provide input, and to meet the emergency managers from Kent County, Ottawa County, and the City of Grand Rapids.

The meeting links and the Regional Hazard Mitigation Plan can be found at https://kentottawahmp.com/. A Spanish translator will be available at the February 23 meeting.

Children’s Special Health Care Services

State of Michigan expands Children’s Special Health Care Services coverage to adults with sickle cell disease
submitted by the Ottawa County Department of Public Health

Michigan adults over age 21 are now eligible for health care coverage for sickle cell disease through the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS).

Under the fiscal year 2022 budget signed by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, the Children’s Special Health Care Services program has expanded to include sickle cell disease coverage for adults – with $6.7 million to cover treatment for a projected 400 adults with sickle cell who were not previously covered.

“One of MDHHS’s top priorities is expanding access to health care coverage through innovation,” said Kate Massey, senior deputy director for the department’s Health and Aging Services Administration. “Addressing the needs of adult patients has been a challenge for many years. Expanding eligibility for sickle cell disease coverage to adults over age 21 improves the quality of care provided in Michigan.”

The program now covers services directly related to sickle cell, including copays, deductibles, transportation, care coordination, access to Children’s Special Health Care Services clinics and case management. 

Expansion of the eligibility was effective Oct. 1. There are approximately 2,800 adults in Michigan with sickle cell disease, with approximately 120 adults currently covered

For more information on the program or to apply for coverage, individuals should contact Brenda Kempf at the Ottawa County Department of Public Health at 616 393-4445 or 616 396-5266. Eligibility is based on medical circumstances and not on income.

For more information, visit Children’s Special Health Care Services.

Sibshops Peer Support Groups Now Offered in Ottawa County for Siblings of Children with Special Needs

submitted by Ottawa County Department of Public Health

Sibshops peer support groups are now being offered in Ottawa County for brothers and sisters of children with special needs. The Sibshops offer an engaging space for siblings to be heard, understood, and supported. 

Sisters and brothers will likely have the longest-lasting relationship with a sibling who has special needs or disabilities, a relationship that can exceed 65 years. During their lives, children who have siblings with special needs or disabilities will experience most of the unique joys and concerns their parents do, yet few will have the chance to talk about their experiences with other siblings who understand this unique experience. 

Sibshops are peer support groups that provide children with the opportunity to meet other siblings, and talk about both the good and difficult parts of having a sibling with special needs. Siblings also learn about their siblings’ special needs or disabilities and the services that child receives. Finally, siblings learn new ways to cope with the challenges of having a sibling with special needs. All while having fun and playing games!

Offered in communities around the country and the world, Sibshops are a place for siblings to be heard, understood and supported.

Sibshops is now in Ottawa County and children aged 6-13 are welcome to attend. Contact Andréa Vugteveen at amvugteveen@gmail.com or 616 460-3781 for more information. Check out Sibshops on Facebook at Ottawa County Sibshops.

Ottawa County Courts Pause Jury Trials

Jury trials expected to resume in February

GRAND HAVEN – In consultation with the Ottawa County Department of Public Health, the 20th Judicial Circuit Court and Ottawa County Probate Court will pause summoning the public to the courthouses to serve as jurors. The Courts intend to resume jury trials on February 1, 2022. All jury trials scheduled before February 1 will be adjourned and new dates will be set.