Grand Ledge’s Fitzgerald Park Could be Halved by New Sewage Expansion Plan

Joshua Looney, Nathan Edlin, Olivia Vanderlaan, and Jackson Manshum

    Grand Ledge’s Fitzgerald Park, home of the sandstone ledges, could be cut in half due to the new sewage construction bond. The park has been maintained by Grand Ledge since the 1970’s, and its assets include a sledding hill, 18-hole disc golf course, baseball diamonds and pavilions, as well as over three miles of trails to walk. The new sewage expansion bond would shrink Fitzgerald Park’s lease boundaries from 63 acres, to only 31 acres. 

    The construction bond proposes an expansion of the sewage plant currently located on the west side of Fitzgerald Park. The expansion would decrease the accessible part of the park by more than 30 acres, half of its original amount. This expansion would impact two miles of the trails, a sledding hill, 14 disc golf holes, and a pavilion. The Ledges however, which run alongside the Grand River, would not be impacted. Many trees would have to be cut down as well in order to fulfill the expansion plan. 

    Trails, a sledding hill, 14 of the 18 holes for the disc golf course, and a pavilion would be impacted or taken down due to the bond proposal, many of which were used and adored by the people of Grand Ledge. On top of that, the fish ladder, as well as fishing areas at Fitzgerald Park, would be impacted or taken away from the community because of the expansion. Kayaking and canoeing, two activities that are used daily in the city of Grand Ledge, especially in the summer, would be impacted too. 

    The future is uncertain when it comes to Fitzgerald Park. Mayor Thom Stowell of the city of Grand Ledge expresses that the change needs to happen sooner than later due to the original sewage plant reaching its capacity. He also worries the way the people view the park will change after the bond is executed. “I think it would significantly change the public’s image of the park and their usability of the park,” he expresses. He is worried that there may be less attendees, due to the decreasing size of the park.

    All in all, the expansion for the sewage plant is viewed both as good and bad by the community. Some think it is for the greater good, since the original sewage plant is reaching capacity. Others would rather keep their sledding hill and 18-hole disc golf course. What is to come is still being determined. Will the three miles of trails still be as keen as they are now? Many hope so. Others, however, do not care about what the outcome is as much.


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