Friday, December 28, 2007

Veronica Valley Purchase- Leelanau Commission Votes Yes

The Leelanau County Planning Commission has recommended that the county continue to pursue its plan to purchase the former Veronica Valley Golf Course for use as a county park - but not without some red flags being raised by commission members.

Comments from commissioners opposing the purchase sais that it will cost taxpayers too much money, and that the loss of tax revenue has not been taken into account.

Following a lengthy and sometimes contentious discussion, the Leelanau County Planning Commission voted 8-1 in favor of a motion to pursue purchase of the Veronica Valley property.

The 93-acre Veronica Valley property belongs to William and Diane Grant, who developed and operated a golf course on the site between 1991 and 2004. In 2004, they offered to sell their property to Leelanau County for use as a park for $800,000 – but stipulated that it must not be used as a golf course.

Current plans call for the Veronica Valley property to be used for a variety of "passive" recreational purposes – hiking, picnicking, nature viewing and the like. The recreational park is planned to have a fairly low maintenance budget with limited mowing, woodchip paths, elevated boardwalks, and viewing platforms.

The agreement from the Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund commits the county to complete the acquisition project no later than October 31, 2008. The $600,000 grant is a reimbursement which means the county needs to expend funds first, and then request a reimbursement through the grant agreement.

The Veronica Valley property is located in Bingham Township, Leelanau County, along County Road 641 (Lake Leelanau Drive) and Maple Valley Road.

read the full article in the Leelanau Enterprise, "Land purchase plan for park advances", by Eric Carlson, Dec 27, 2007- see FAIR USE notice.
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