MUSKEGON, Mich. — For decades city leaders in Muskegon have attempted to strike the right balance between preserving and developing Pere Marquett Park.
They're likely to find themselves facing another similar decision in 2019.
Developers have contacted city leaders about the possibility of leasing a portion of the park to build a 98 site RV park.
Pere Marquette Park includes more than one mile of Lake Michigan shoreline and untouched dunes areas. The area under consideration is what's know as "the ovals". It's land inside the circular route of Beach Street around the park.
The Beachwood Recreational Park proposal was first presented in 2007. The new version of the plan includes changes residents who live near Pere Marquette had concerns about at that time.
The new design eliminates fire pits at all sites and includes just one community fire pit.
A sight and sound berm with vegetation would circle the RV park.
The designs also includes a few retail shops, bathhouse, children's playground, picnic sites, and a natural area with dune grass and trees.
Developers would need a long-term lease from the city to make it a reality.
Proceeds from the lease could be used to maintain and improve Pere Marquette Park.
City leaders have seen the design concept, but they tell 13 On Your Side "formal plans" for consideration have not yet been submitted by Beachwood Recreational Park LLC.
The park is part of the Beachwood and Bluffton Neighborhoods.
President of the neighborhood association Chris Willis says she's not taking a position on the proposal until she learns more from developers and the city. She is however asking leaders at city hall to keep open lines of communication with residents when it comes to any development proposal for Pere Marquette Park.
"Can we please open dialogue and look at all of the proposals that might come to the table for this area," said Willis.
Willis and her neighbors are concerned about the loss of dunes in the city.
"When it comes time to talk about development that's where the point of contention comes in," she said.
A change.org petition opposed to the RV park already has more than 5,000 signatures.