The 44-acre Grossman property in Saline township, just south of the city of Saline is in line to become a new Washtenaw County Parks and Recreation Commission preserve after being recommended for funding from a state recreation fund.Washtenaw County Parks and Recreation Commission
WASHTENAW COUNTY, MI – A roughly 44-acre property along the Saline River could end up as Washtenaw County’s latest nature preserve, with possibilities to connect to city of Saline parks and nearby natural areas.
Officials with the Michigan Department of Natural Resources announced on Thursday, Dec. 15, that the acquisition of the property along Macon Road in Saline Township is in line to receive $541,800 from a state fund powering outdoor recreation projects and seeded by revenues from fossil fuel and mineral royalties.
That sum from the Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund would go to the Washtenaw County Parks and Recreation Commission, which has considered the property for purchase since 2019.
The project made sense for the state funds because of the location of the land, known as the Grossman property, along the Saline River and with potential connections to parks in Saline, as well as the Leslee Niethammer Preserve on the opposite riverbank in York Township, according to a county parks memo.
The Michigan Legislature and governor will have to approve the grant from the DNR fund through the appropriations process next year.
County parks officials hope to begin their due diligence assessment and close on the property after that point in 2023, according to Ginny Leikam, superintendent of park planning and the Natural Areas Preservation Program.
The property was appraised in 2021 at $1.34 million, according to the county memo, and the Parks and Recreation Commission would cover the costs not picked up by the state funding.
Across the river from the land is the DNR’s Saline Fisheries Research Station and north of that the city of Saline’s Salt Springs Park.
Read more: Saline’s Salt Springs Park reminds residents how the city got its name
Part of the property is currently used for farming, with the remainder containing woodland, meadows and open space, according to Leikam. County parks officials hope to develop trails on the site for the public, she added.
The project is one of 45 outdoor recreation and land acquisition projects in line for a total of $23.3 million in funding from the trust fund in 2023.
“Whether you’re hiking a paved trail close to home, birdwatching in a community park or watching your grandkids enjoy an accessible playground, all of these Trust Fund-supported experiences greatly benefit our mental and physical health and significantly contribute to local economies,” said Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer in a statement announcing the projects.
The other Washtenaw County initiative included in the batch of funding is improvements to the canoe and kayak launch at the Delhi Metropark in Scio Township, the latest in a suite of upgrades to river access through the metroparks system.
The acquisition of the Saline River preserve would be the first spending in Saline Township from the county program that protects natural areas and farmland.
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