Tom wiarda

Years of work culminate together for Plainfield Townships Parks and Rec

May 10, 2012 // 0 Comments

Grand Isle golf property purchase, sports complex, Miracle League, Ironman event all new in 2012 by BETH ALTENA “The purchase is done; we own it; it’s open to the public now,” Plainfield Township Parks and Recreation Director John Short made this statement about the Grand Isle Golf property on West River Drive. The 62 acres were part of property that was formerly a golf course. It is now a natural haven owned by the township and available to the public for the enjoyment of the natural beauty including wetlands, wildlife and the Grand River waterfront. The purchase of the acreage is one of many milestones the township is seeing come to pass—the results of years of behind-the-scenes efforts. “It’s taken 16 years to get to this place,” Short said. The Grand River front park property was purchased with a DNR Grant Trust Fund, which is generated by oil and gas revenue from drilling on state property. The system was set in place 35 years ago and amended in 1982 after the state began appropriating the funds back into the general operating budget. It was put on the ballot that year and voters approved legislation strictly earmarking the money for park and recreation projects around the state. The township has spent the last five years getting a grant approved by the state house and senate after the DNR committee recommended the project be funded. According to Short, the grant had to be rewritten three times over the past five years as the appraised value of the property and other factors changed. The final purchase price of about $10,000 per acre was funded by the DNR grant with the township contributing 35 percent. The park currently has a completed paved driveway for visitors, a dirt parking area and lots of opportunities to view nature and wildlife. Short said there are beaver lodges, wood ducks, and at least four families of foxes (some of the cubs were pictured in the Squire last spring—perhaps readers will send in more). There are hawks, and Short saw an eagle on the property over a 45-minute time span recently. Another milestone event is the multiple sports activities that will soon be available through four different projects underway off Ten Mile Road on […]