The Department of Natural Resources is moving forward with purchasing the Old Moorings Place on Old Mission Peninsula with $2.5 million of Michigan Natural Resource trust fund money.
The idea is to turn that site into a new boat launch and use Haserot Beach solely as a swimming area.
â??Is there a need for more access and more parking on the bay?â?? posed Tim Schreiner with the DNR. â??Most definitely. Let's work together to try to make the best of all worlds and separate those activities.â??
The DNR says this project could help alleviate congestion at other boat launches and provide more boating and business opportunities in the area.
â??When we've got the ability to protect lands and make it available to the public, especially Great Lakes water frontage, it's a fantastic opportunity,â?? said Schreiner.
Neighbors, however, have safety and traffic concerns.
â??There are people walking on the streets with baby strollers in families walking to the beach biking to the beach as well as moderate car traffic,â?? said John Jacobs who lives on the peninsula. â??Adding more car traffic to that will only add to a dangerous situation and change the basic nature of the village.â??
Jacobs is also worried a new boat launch will be too crowded with motorized watercraft that accidents will happen.
â??By adding more motorized craft, which are already choking the bay on busy, sunny days, we're going to see a lot of accidents. I think a lot of the kayakers, standup paddle boards, and divers and other people who will use the bayâ??there are very few access points into Lake Michiganâ??they won't be able to use it,â?? said Jacobs.
Others say change is long overdue.
â??I'm in complete support,â?? said Angie Jensen, owner of Old Mission Inn. â??I'm shocked there hasn't been any issues already. It's an accident waiting to happen. To me it was a no-brainer. I would think it was a win-win situation for everyone.â??
Jacobs said leaving the boat launch at Haserot as it is and using the new property for a non-motorized boat launch would be helpful.
â??I think the people of the village would welcome a non-motorized boat launch, but thatâ??s not what the plan is.â??
The DNR says acquiring the property is more important than having the final plan at this point.
Schreiner says there's plenty of time for the township to figure out what it would like to do with the land.
The DNR would like to have the property purchase finalized by the end of the year.