Developer wants to build housing on Hudsonville baseball diamond

HUDSONVILLE, Mich. -- Some people in Ottawa County are upset about the possibility of a neighborhood baseball field turning into housing.  It's a Hudsonville baseball diamond frequently used by little league teams.

A developing is trying to rezone the area that includes the Hillcrest baseball diamond into two dozen single family homes.  Some city officials say there are more than enough baseball fields to make up for it and this one is not in great condition. The Hillcrest field is located at 5751 36th Avenue in Hudsonville.

Others say they're already fighting for field time enough as it is.

"We've been playing and practicing at this field for a number of years so it's a nice location, it's relatively quiet around the area, but it gives us a nice option and place to practice and play games," said Kevin Betts, the father of two sons who play on the field.

Developer Creekside Companies has requested rezoning the land to make it into 24 single-family detached condominiums.

"There are quite a few ball fields in the area nd that was part of the reason the city commission allowed for it to go up for sale," said Hudsonville's Planning and Zoning Director Dan Strikwerda.

Strikwerda says the park is just one of 26 baseball diamonds in Hudsonville.  The state requires one field per 3,000 people, and the city has more than 12 times that number.

"About half of those fields are on school property so they’re not available all the time," Strikwerda said. "The way we have that in our recreation plan we give the value of half a field but that still puts us at 19 fields when we do that. Little league can use the school fields as well. We’ve talked with the Little League about this as well."

The planning commission will vote on the rezoning application Wednesday night.  Some parents, like Betts, say they're concerned about field time if it passes.

"Field availability can be an issue," he said. "There’s lot of kids playing, I think we have over a thousand kids playing in Hudsonville little league and so trying to find available fields can be a challenge."

Though the planning commission votes tomorrow, ultimately the city commission will have the final say. That vote is on June 12.

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