ALLEGAN, Mich. — The prospect of a boutique hotel in Allegan will be decided by voters, as the city considers selling downtown parkland to secure the riverfront structure.
The City of Allegan recently accepted a bid from CL Real Estate, an Illinois-based firm, to purchase a vacant lot on 101 Brady St. next to Mahan Park. The group plans to build an 80-room hotel on the property near the Kalamazoo River.
CL Real Estate approached the city with an idea to build part of the hotel on the vacant lot and a portion on Mahan Park, City Manager Joel Dye said.
"Mahan Park would not be eliminated, but actually increased in size," Dye said. "It [would] become more of a waterfront park and less of a tiered-seating, gazebo park."
The proposal effectively swaps land from both parcels, but the city can't sell parkland without putting it up to a vote. Voters will make the call during the presidential primary on March 10.
"I would say there are equal pro-people and equal against-people that I'm seeing in the community," Dye said.
Allegan desperately needs a downtown hotel for its weekly global visitors, said Landria Christman. She owns the Sassy Olive Boutique on Locust Street and heads "Friends of the Riverfront," a group that favors the proposal.
"We need something down here that's central where people can stay and walk to one of our new restaurants or bars or go shopping," Christman said. "When they don't have a place to [stay], they're going to Grand Rapids, Holland and Kalamazoo and spending their money and time there."
The proposal has received mixed reactions on social media. Several people are concerned the hotel will damage the park or tarnish Allegan's small town charm.
"The city itself is very focused on preserving the historical charm," Christman said. "We've had other businesses and companies come [to Allegan] that all focus on that it is a unique place. [CL Real Estate] just want to add to that."
More Allegan County stories on 13 ON YOUR SIDE:
- Skeletal remains possibly related to Allegan County cold case
- Allegan may close an elementary school to open an early childhood education center
- Allegan County priest gets jail for restraining teenage boy
►Make it easy to keep up to date with more stories like this. Download the 13 ON YOUR SIDE app now.