Ottawa County Parks is offering multiple opportunities this winter for the public to provide input on the proposed purchase of 353-acres of dune property in the cities of Ferrysburg and Grand Haven.
The public input will inform the grant application process for the proposed acquisition, which is known the “Ottawa Sand Acquisition Project.”
The Ottawa Sand property is located on North Shore Drive near Lake Michigan. It includes 219-acres of state designated critical dunes, 5,585’ of Grand River frontage, and an 80-acre man-made inland lake. The sand mining site is bordered by publicly owned land, including North Ottawa Dunes and open-space dunes property owned by the City of Grand Haven. If the purchase is able to be completed, the property would be the final piece of a 2,400-acre coastal corridor of Lake Michigan dunes that also includes P.J. Hoffmaster State Park and Kitchel-Lindquist-Hartger Dune Preserve.
Although the site has been an area of interest to the Parks Commission, the property was not expected to be available for years to come. This changed in the fall of 2017 when the property owner offered to sell the property based on an appraised value of $11.2 million and donate 25% of the land value to serve as grant match in a grant proposal to the State.
Therefore, Ottawa County Parks made the unprecedented step of submitting a $8.4 million grant application to the Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund outside of the typical grant cycle. In December 2017, the Trust Fund Board recommended that a $4.2 million grant be awarded with an informal commitment to recommend the remaining amount in 2018 (depending on funding availability). The grant recommendation must be approved by the State Legislature and Governor.
Typically, the County Parks Commission would have sought public input in advance of the grant submittal but due the condensed time frame a meeting could not be held. However, the County Parks Commission would still like to encourage public input on the project and is offering three opportunities:
- Tuesday, January 23, 2018 at 7 pm, Ferrysburg City Hall: 17290 Roosevelt Road Ferrysburg, MI 49409
- Wednesday, January 31, 2018 at 4 pm, Conference Room F, Ottawa County Fillmore Street Complex: 12220 Fillmore Street, West Olive, MI 49460
- Wednesday, March 7, 2018 at 4 pm, Conference Room F, Ottawa County Fillmore Street Complex
At the meeting in Ferrysburg, there will be brief presentation by Ottawa County Parks staff with additional details about the project. Following the presentation, the public will have an opportunity to provide input.