Ludington council to discuss Stearns Park parking fees tonight.

April 24, 2017

ludington lighthouseLudington council to discuss Stearns Park parking fees tonight. 

#MasonCountyNews #LudingtonNews.

By Rob Alway, Editor-in-Chief. 

LUDINGTON — City Council is scheduled to discuss Stearns Park parking fees during its regular meeting 6:30 p.m. tonight at City Hall, 400 S. Harrison St. The topic has brought up a considerable amount of opposition since it was first brought up publicly in February. On April 18 the city’s Parks Committee voted unanimously to recommend the council not pursue the concept of charging for parking.

The city began discussing the topic in November during a Finance Committee meeting reviewing the 2017, 2018, and 2019 budgets. The budgets showed the general fund’s estimated expenditures would exceed the estimated revenues, by about $264,400 in 2018 and by about $125,200 in 2019. The general fund, which receives most of its revenues by property taxes, pays for the maintenance of city parks; the parks budget for 2017 is $496,800, which includes parks, beach safety, and boat ramps.

One of the ideas during the Finance Committee meeting was to charge non-city residents to park at Stearns Park. Stearns Park was deeded to the city in the early 20th century by the Stearns family, which once owned much of the lakefront property from Epworth south to the channel.

During a December council meeting, City Manager John Shay was directed by the city council to research what other municipalities for parking at public parks. Some of the other lakeshore communities that charge include Empire, South Haven, Ottawa County, Saugatuck, St. Joseph, and New Buffalo.

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