ADA, Mich. — Ada Township has grown a lot over the past eight years. The "rebirth" of the downtown area project transformed the township's center.
Now, in the next five years, township leaders plan to continue that momentum.
"I think where we’re heading," said Ross Leisman, Ada Township supervisor, "is trying to be a place that is family friendly, and that is a place where there is a high quality of life."
There are three main focuses of growth: the downtown village, recreation, and community activities.
The village area was recreated about eight years ago, with the township working with Amway to create a walkable downtown community.
Right now, the director of planning for the township, John Said, said they are about three-fourths of the way through their original plan.
"So, we're seeing this growth and this enhancement going on," said Said, "That downtown model may even expand across the street if the private landowners there are willing to have that happen."
One of the big projects downtown includes the construction of the Ada House Hotel. It will be a small, 42-room boutique hotel.
"When people come in from out of town," said Leisman, "they don’t have to stay with a family member, they don’t have to stay by the airport or downtown, they can stay right here in Ada."
Other buildings are still being constructed, which will continue their building model of first-floor retail and upper-floor office space. Expect more businesses to fill these spaces soon.
"We're trying to become a walkable community," said Said, "which is, I think, a little more of a rare thing in this part of the world."
Recreation improvements are a major emphasis for the township. Feedback from the community during previous master plans showed people wanted trails, parks and recreation.
So, the township is putting their money where the community asked for it.
"$4 million dollars just this year putting a trail down Pettis avenue," said Leisman, "We plan to spend another $15 million in the next three years on our trail system."
The township has two large county parks, several township parks and preserve areas.
Currently, the township is working with the county to create a pedestrian bridge that will go over the Grand Rive to connect Roselle Park with Chief Hazy Cloud Park. That will create 600 acres of park, trail, and preserved area centered around the Grand River.
"That’s what we find people like," said Leisman, "They like to get outside, it’s part of the healthy feeling. They like to exercise, and it’s family oriented, groups of seniors go walking together, and something people do with their kids."
The township is planning more activities for the community, especially this summer. They are hoping to "promote a vibe" that is fun and welcoming.
There will be free concerts every Wednesday nights outdoors in Legacy Park on the water. Plus, the township board approved a social district in April.
"The feeling you're going to have," said Leisman, "is you park in Ada, you’ll have a variety of restaurants where you can pick up your food and eat there or bring it to the park, live music on a very nice pavilion, you'll see on the river and families walking around."
The farmer's market will be open every Tuesday. There will also be three Beers on the Bridge events during the summer.
"We have a couple thousand people come down by the covered bridge," said Leisman, "We have live music again, vendors, play areas for the kids, food, and of course, adult beverages."
The goal is to promote family friendly events.
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