By Mike Kruzman /

Northfield Township officials are making real progress on a community park that that has seen several revisions and false starts over the past few years.

The township bought 23-acres in the North Village district of Whitmore Lake back in 2016 with the intent of turning a large section of that space into a park space. Multiple proposals have been brought forth since then, but nothing that the Board of Trustees has been able to agree on for being the best use for the community. The township has recently secured a $300,000 grant for beginning the design and development, and in recent months has gathered updated public comment and input.

At a recent meeting, Tyler Sprague of Johnson Hill presented a recommendation from the Parks and Recreation Board for multiple potential plans. Sprague said community feedback was well received. The public, he said, expressed an interest in a beach, playground, a boardwalk or pier, a public restroom, and a pavilion. Things they weren’t interested in, were a pond, commercial space, destruction of wetlands, a beach and a playground. Sprague noted that the beach and playground appeared in both lists.

Sprague expanded on several of the proposed amenities that also included a turf area near the lake as an alternative to the beach and trail connections running throughout the site. A proposed pavilion, amphitheater or performance pad, and raised grassy area would provide scenic views of the water.

One obstacle before the Board with the design, however, was the positioning of some required commercial space on the south of the site that could interfere with the DNR grant. To be compliant and not risk losing the funding, the Board voted to move that commercial space to the north portion of the site and then shift a road further south to preserve more open space. They then voted to have engineers redraw the boundaries.

Sprague said there is still work to be done with design development before any shovels hit the ground, but this appears to be further than the township has come with getting to that point since purchasing the land.