Ada envisions new $8.5M covered bridge park

What’s happening: Ada community leaders and township officials announced the  public launch of the Connecting Community campaign, aimed at raising $8.5 million to create an expanded park space on both sides of the Thornapple River, with the Ada Covered Bridge at  the center, and an enhanced trail system. The park will include land that held Leonard Field and the property on the western edge of the bridge that was acquired by Ada Township in June 2023. 

How it works: Major donors already contributed $7.3 million toward the $8.5 million goal, underscoring their belief in the importance of  Ada Covered Bridge Park as a central gathering space for the community.  Donations  to the public portion of the fundraising effort can be made here.  

Who’s involved: Leading the fundraising efforts are Connecting Community campaign co-chairs Loren and Kelly Crandell and Joshua and Leslie Hulst. Both families reside in Ada.  “As the Connecting Community campaign enters a public phase, the entire community is called upon to  get us to the finish line of this visionary project,” Loren Crandell said. “Every donation, large or small,  contributes to the realization of Ada Covered Bridge Park. It’s an investment that will provide countless  joyful experiences for so many in our community.” 

CourtesyAn artist's rendering of the proposed Ada Covered Bridge Park.

Why it’s important: The envisioned park will feature a broad  range of amenities, including a splash pad, pickleball courts, a dog park, river overlooks, picnic spaces,  and more. Pedestrian walkways will link Ada Covered Bridge Park with Legacy Park across the street. 

Beyond the park space, an additional 15 acres across the Thornapple River from Legacy Park will be transformed to offer walking trails, a kayak launch, and additional river overlooks. This expansion aligns with Ada's dedication to providing outdoor experiences and opportunities to enjoy the natural beauty of  the area. 

What they are saying: “The Ada Covered Bridge is really the heart of this project,” says Cheri DeVos, honorary co-chair of  Connecting Community. “It represents the history of Ada. It’s a connector. It’s the first thing many  people think of when they hear the words “Ada Village,” and it is only fitting that it should be the centerpiece and name of this beautiful new park. Optimizing this space to meet community needs while  enhancing the trail network that connects to it will be a wonderful addition to this growing area.” 

What’s the back story: In 2006, the Ada community produced a resident-guided vision for the future of Ada Village. In 2013, township officials, business owners, residents, and visitors joined in more than 100  meetings and community forums to clarify that vision. One of the key requests was to expand  outdoor recreation opportunities and enhance existing parks and green spaces, connecting them with a  regional network of trails and open spaces. 

“We are so happy to support this campaign and are excited to know that this beautiful outdoor space  will be available for members of our community for generations to come,” said Amy Van Andel,  honorary co-chair of Connecting Community alongside her husband, Steve. “This is a perfect  complement to all the growth in Ada over the recent years and will do so much to create an even more  engaging, vibrant and fun environment for everyone to enjoy.” 

Construction of Ada Covered Bridge Park and the associated trails is anticipated to begin in early 2025. For more information on the project and ways to support the Connecting Community campaign, visit

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