Community to break ground on Getty Park renovations Saturday.

August 2, 2022

OCP file photo

Community to break ground on Getty Park renovations Saturday.

SHELBY — The anticipation of the renovation of Getty Park has finally arrived. After a failed trust fund grant application in 2019 for the park’s renovation, the village council did not give up. 

Village council members considered the failed grant application as extra motivation and dedication to bring Getty Park up to modern standards and to recognize the historical impact the park had in the community during World War II.  

In 1908, George and Sarah Getty donated the land that is now Getty Park. Over the years, the park was a main recreation source for the residents with one unusual event that most parks do not host. During World War II, when the park’s football field, Getty Field — now a soccer field — became the home for German prisoners for a brief time in 1944. Getty Park was one of a handful of prisoner of war camps in Michigan during the war. The prisoners worked in fruit and vegetable fields as well as  processing plants in Oceana County while residents of Shelby and the region were fighting in WWII.  

Once the original park planning process was started in 2016, village council’s desire for Getty Park was to  re-establish the park as the community’s main public gathering space. The renovation started with updating the village’s five-year parks and recreation plan. During this process, a community-wide survey was conducted to get input from residents about parks and recreation services in  the village. The updated parks and recreation plan provided the foundation for the Getty Park renovation.  

To make the ideal conceptual park plan work, additional land was needed. With the gracious donation of  property from Getty Park’s neighbor, Annette Campagna, the desired conceptual park plan received a  huge boost. The next hurdle was funding. 

Council members and staff focused their work on submitting the Land Water Conservation Fund grant application for the park’s renovation to the Michigan Department of Natural  Resources by the grant’s deadline of April 1, 2020.  

In November 2020, the village received notice from the DNR that it was going to recommend the village receive a portion of the $5.4 million LWCF appropriated dollars. Shelby’s grant application request was for $300,000. With the LWCF grant, the village is required to provide local matching funds. Those matching funds can be general fund dollars,  in-kind services, other grant sources, and private donations.

For the next 18 months, the council waited for the National Park  Service to approve the DNR’s grant recommendation. The delay was attributed to the impacts of COVID. In May 2022, the project agreement was received and quickly approved  by the village council. 

The celebration for the renovation of Getty Park will start Saturday, Aug. 6, with a groundbreaking ceremony at 3 p.m. 

“This moment has been a long time coming,” said Village President Paul Inglis. “The park development is coming at the right time for Shelby. Council members and staff have been working  hard to improve the quality of life in Shelby over the past few years. Getty Park continues to be a major  community project that will help guide the rebirth of our village.” 

The groundbreaking ceremony will feature guest speaker, Dan Lord from the DNR. Memories of Getty  Park will be shared, and the park’s conceptual plan will be revealed. A farewell celebration of the old Getty  Park will immediately follow the groundbreaking ceremony.  

Residents are encouraged to attend the  groundbreaking event and can find updates about the event by visiting the  village’s Facebook page and website.  

“I echo  the comments of President Inglis,” said Damian Omness, chairperson for the village’s parks, recreation and buildings committee. “It was a great day when the LWCF grant became official. This is a great project for Shelby. A well-planned park has positive benefits for a community like Shelby. As we continue  to fine tune the park plan, pursue additional grant funding, finalize labor donations with local businesses,  I have no doubt that Getty Park will become a destination location for many from our community and  Oceana County.” 

Over the next few months demolition of the current park amenities will take place, and construction will begin next spring.

Individuals and businesses who would like to learn more about how they can get involved with the park’s renovation, such as purchasing park benches, picnic tables, and or landscaping plants, contact Shelby Village Hall during normal office hours at (231) 861-4400.

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