The Michigan Recreation and Park Association (mParks), an organization dedicated to the advancement of public spaces, recreation, and natural resources, announced that Ottawa County Parks was awarded the 2018 Park Design award for Grand Ravines. Park Design projects typically contain landscape and facility components, such as splash pads, playgrounds, and trails and linear parks.
The award application included a narrative describing the park’s natural features and constructed amenities, such as the renovated lodge, 21-acre dog park, universally accessible kayak launch, restored barn, and 275′ suspension bridge. It also included photos of the site, many of which were contributed by park users and local photographers. “We can’t thank David Michael Lawson, Lee Koets, Mike Lozon, Robert Woonacott, and Blair Celano enough. Their photos were included in the application and we have no doubt that their work helped us achieve this honor,” said Jessica VanGinhoven, Ottawa County Parks Communications Specialist.
Grand Ravines is the centerpiece of the Grand River Greenway, which is a multi-decade effort to preserve land along the Grand River from Lake Michigan to the Ottawa County border and connect the land with a multi-use pathway – the Idema Explorers Trail.
“A major goal in designing this park was to show off the beauty and potential of the Grand River,” said John Scholtz, Ottawa County Parks Director. “Grand Ravines is the foundation for the experience we hope to create along the entire Grand River and it is exciting to have it recognized in this way.”
A section of the Idema Explorers Trail has already been constructed in Grand Ravines. The next step is to construct a 0.75-mile section of the trail in 2019 that will connect Grand Ravines to the Grand Valley State University Allendale campus. Design and construction of the trail will be ongoing over the next five years.
The Park Design Award will be presented to Ottawa County Parks staff on Friday. February 1, 2019, at the mParks Conference & Trade Show in Kalamazoo, Michigan.