Grand Isle golf property purchase, sports complex, Miracle League, Ironman event all new in 2012 by BETH ALTENA “The purchase is done; we own it; it’s open to the public now,” Plainfield Township Parks and Recreation Director John Short made this statement about the Grand Isle Golf property on West River Drive. The 62 acres were part of property that was formerly a golf course. It is now a natural haven owned by the township and available to the public for the enjoyment of the natural beauty including wetlands, wildlife and the Grand River waterfront. The purchase of the acreage is one of many milestones the township is seeing come to pass—the results of years of behind-the-scenes efforts. “It’s taken 16 years to get to this place,” Short said. The Grand River front park property was purchased with a DNR Grant Trust Fund, which is generated by oil and gas revenue from drilling on state property. The system was set in place 35 years ago and amended in 1982 after the state began appropriating the funds back into the general operating budget. It was put on the ballot that year and voters approved legislation strictly earmarking the money for park and recreation projects around the state. The township has spent the last five years getting a grant approved by the state house and senate after the DNR committee recommended the project be funded. According to Short, the grant had to be rewritten three times over the past five years as the appraised value of the property and other factors changed. The final purchase price of about $10,000 per acre was funded by the DNR grant with the township contributing 35 percent. The park currently has a completed paved driveway for visitors, a dirt parking area and lots of opportunities to view nature and wildlife. Short said there are beaver lodges, wood ducks, and at least four families of foxes (some of the cubs were pictured in the Squire last spring—perhaps readers will send in more). There are hawks, and Short saw an eagle on the property over a 45-minute time span recently. Another milestone event is the multiple sports activities that will soon be available through four different projects underway off Ten Mile Road on […]
May 10 2012
Every year the Arthritis Foundation chooses an honoree to represent them in the annual area Arthritis Walk. This year the foundation chose Kathy Jo Resseguie, who is one of Rockford High School’s long-time cheer coaches and has a daily struggle with Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA). Resseguie will be entering her 19th year coaching cheer at the high school and her 14th year since being diagnosed with RA. “I am very honored and never imagined being asked; there are so many people affected by arthritis in the area. Through the walk I have been able to help raise awareness and help raise funds for the Arthritis Foundation so they may continue research efforts and continue to provide the many services they offer to people with arthritis, especially the children. One of my greatest fears and worries in life everyday is that someday my own daughters will have to endure this disease. I pray that with donations and research that fear will never come true.” Through the last 14 years, Resseguie has gone through numerous medications, trials and errors but finally is happy to have some control of her RA with medication. She still has hope for remission, but continues to stay positive knowing that RA has taught her a lot in life and knows that her positive attitude will serve as an example and inspiration for others. “Although some days are worse than others, I have always tried to maintain a positive attitude around my athletes. I have always taken seriously the role model that I am to them on the field and more importantly off the field. I always felt in my heart that one day I may be a source of inspiration to them as they may encounter their own life obstacles. Unfortunately, in the past year and a half, two of my former cheerleaders have been diagnosed with Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis. I can only pray that a cure is found and they can stay positive through their journeys like I have tried.” Resseguie has participated in the Arthritis Walk since it came to Grand Rapids seven years ago. This year’s walk was held at the John Ball Park Zoo on Saturday, May 5. If you couldn’t make it out to the walk but would […]
Baseball-themed day of free samples draws crowds by BETH ALTENA Rockford Ric’s Food Center is a busy place these days four years into their location at 6969 Belding Road. The store was especially busy Saturday, May 5 with the Spring Taste of Ric’s, where vendors and store staff offer free samples of many food products. There were about 40 stations offering samples from wraps and sandwiches from the Ric’s deli to rootbeer floats in dairy. The meat and seafood department were especially busy as people lined up for samples of the store’s signature kielbasa and tasty crab cakes, sale priced at just a dollar each for the day. According to Store Director Dave Brickner, the events are greatly anticipated by both customers and staff, and this year’s included a drawing for a free grill valued at about $700. Brickner said the store is a busy one for the chain, and beer- and wine-tastings on Saturdays from 3 to 6 p.m. have been very popular. The store has been holding the tastings for the last seven months, and the selection of wine and beer is the best in West Michigan, Brickner believes. “Michigan has so many good breweries we have been able to focus on Michigan-made beers,” he stated. Michigan also has a great selection of locally made wine, but the store also features wines made worldwide. “We are so event-oriented,” Brickner said of his Ric’s. April was Michigan Wine Month, May includes the Taste of Ric’s and Mother’s Day, and the new one-day sales have been big successes. Brickner also expressed enthusiasm regarding the proposed development for the property surrounding the store, which was a Planned Unit Development for residential homes, townhouses and other businesses along the Belding Road frontage. The development went to the bank after sales failed to take place and the economy spiraled down, but now one of the town homes built on the site has sold—a happy sign of better times to come.
by CLIFF AND NANCY HILL Mission accomplished! The third and final phase of the Rogue River Nature Trail is now complete. Bultsma Construction has made good on a promised May 10 completion date and the award-winning trail is now open for foot traffic. The entire Rogue River Nature Trail was constructed primarily as a boardwalk with picturesque Rogue River vistas along with observation and fishing platforms. From its southern origin at James St. and Longview Dr. on the City’s southwest side, the trail extends northward to its terminus at a sidewalk connector to Chelsea Ct. in the Riverchase Neighborhood. Not quite a mile in total length and handicap accessible, the Rogue River Nature Trail begs to be discovered if you haven’t already done so.
by TERRY KONKLE President, Rockford Area Historical Society I will begin this week by adding Kathy Dupont and Ray and Karen Fought to the list of those who knew that Zell Gill was the answer to my last trivia question. I also got a call from a young girl who, along with a few of her friends, did some research at the Kent District Library to find out who Mrs. Gill was. They did not know her, but now they do. All of the comments about Mrs. Gill were very flattering this week, as were all of those I received last week. In fact, I have decided after all of the positive responses I have gotten to several of my questions to NOT call them “trivia questions” in the future. How can answers like Zell Gill, Bob Boyer, Ruth Streeter and others be called trivia? From now on I will present “history questions” unless a reader can give me a better title. My thanks to all who have taken the time to call me with answers over the last few weeks! Before I give a new history question, I need to provide the reader with some information about a man called Lyle Bennett. He was a 1923 Rockford High School graduate and one of our top athletes of that time. After college at Central Michigan University, he came back to our town to teach and coach at the high school and was the driving force behind establishing our first “homecoming” football game in 1929. The tradition of having a homecoming contest still exists. When Bennett left Rockford, he went to Alma and then back to Central Michigan, where he was the head track coach for many years. The track at Central Michigan is named for him. He never forgot his Rockford roots and later suggested that Rockford hold an event each year to honor certain graduates. The question is in three parts, so I need three answers: “What is the name of the event; What month does it occur; What group is especially honored each year?” Contact me with your answers at (616) 866-0530. On Saturday, May 5, 2012, the Big Green Egg Cooker raffle was held at Herman’s Boy in Rockford with the drawing […]