Bridgman hoping to build 60 new homes in the heart of downtown

Published: Nov. 22, 2022 at 6:15 PM EST
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BRIDGMAN, MI. (WNDU) - Bridgman is a small city with a population of a little over two-thousand residents.

Last night, the Bridgman City Council was presented with a development plan for a 25-acre housing and trail project, that could bring in nearly a hundred new residents.

“Housing is really hard to get in Bridgman. There’s lots of people that want to live in Bridgman, and not a lot of homes come up for sale,” said Connie Babcock, the owner of the property the project will be developed on.

The new homes will be a combination of single family and multi-family homes, ranging in affordability.

“That’s going to take up about 15 of the 25 acres, with a balance of 10 acres going towards a wooded trail network,” Arthur Havlicek, the President and CEO of Southwest Michigan’s Regional Chamber told 16 News Now.

The trail will connect all three of Bridgman’s public schools and give the community a place to enjoy the area’s nature.

“I think it’s no secret that there’s a major housing shortage not just across the country, but Southwest Michigan. We haven’t had a significant housing development in over thirty years,” said Juan Ganum, Bridgman City Manager.

When asked about the benefit of the trail, Havlicek said, “When we talk about thriving downtowns, one of the main words we always hear is walkability, and so one major benefit for this development is, it’s going to not only add 60 new homes, and potentially 60 new families to a small community, it’s going to increase walkability.”

Babcock told 16 News Now that when she spoke with developers, she insisted on keeping the space open to the public.

“I want this to be a development where people can just be out on the trail and get to know each other and share communally what we have to offer in Southwest Michigan,” Babcock said.

Babcock moved to her five-bedroom home in Bridgman in 2006, but soon to be an empty nester, she has wanted to downsize, without having to leave the city.

She also said that she wanted to be able to give back to Bridgman, as the city has been so supportive of her and her family.

“I think good trails make good neighbors and having the trail system will let people be neighbors even if they don’t live right next to each other, it will let you explore your community and get to know people,” Babcock said.

According to Havlicek, the plan will still need to be approved by the Planning Commission and City Commission and gain enough public interest before development could begin.

Once approved, the project would take several years to complete.