Developers Want RVs in Michigan Park
A retired Muskegon, Mich., car wash owner and a local architect think the time is right to develop a portion of Pere Marquette Park in Muskegon into a recreational vehicle park, according to The Grand Rapids Press.
John Vanderstelt and Dick Borgeson have formed Beachwood Recreational Park LLC in hopes of convincing the Muskegon City Commission to allow them to build and operate a 95-space, seasonal RV park in the middle of the famed "Ovals."
The Ovals refers to the circular route of Beach Street around Pere Marquette Park which borders Lake Michigan. Within the Ovals is a never-used sandy area that the partners say is perfect for an RV park that would bring more people, activity and revenue to Muskegon.
"This has been a dream of mine for years," said Vanderstelt, who retired four years ago.
"I walk out there (at the park) all of the time. I am an RVer and it blows my mind that we can have such a gorgeous beach and can't have this at the Ovals."
Besides needing to win over Muskegon city commissioners, the RV park developers would need to receive Michigan Department of Environmental Quality permits to construct their plans in a state-designated "critical dune."
"I'm open-minded to it for a couple of reasons," said Mayor Steve Warmington. "It brings in tourists, and having a campground in the park brings more activity to it. We'll take a look at it, based on the merit it brings to the citizens."
Commissioner Sue Wierengo lives close by and says she would oppose this proposal.
"Pere Marquette Park is really not an appropriate place for all those RVs," she says, noting that such proposals have raised strong opposition in the past.
"People from all over Muskegon get extremely upset," Wierengo says. "They think that park is theirs – which it is."
Developers have been proposing commercial and recreational uses for Pere Marquette for more than 25 years with little support from the city or its citizens. There always is tension between adjacent homeowners and park users over such irritants as noise and traffic.