February 26, 2019
The Ottawa County Parks and Recreation Commission and Ottawa County Parks Foundation reached an important landmark today in its effort to create a new ecologically important park along the Grand River Greenway.
Agreements were reached with three landowners to sell 118 acres of land in Robinson Township at the south end of Stearns Bayou. This land includes 6,350 feet of frontage along Stearns Creek and will protect nearly 27 acres of high quality wetland. The acquisition helps accomplish the goal of adding 700 acres of park land to the Grand River Greenway over the next five years; a donation to the campaign is a key part of the funding for the purchase.
The Grand River Greenway Campaign Committee is part of the Parks Foundation and is co-chaired by Peter Secchia, Monica Verplank, and Samantha Verplank.
The purchases are expected to be completed in March and are funded by a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Coastal and Estuarine Land Conservation Program (CELCP) grant, a Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund grant, and a gift from the estate of John J. Helstrom. In honor of the gift, the new park will feature the Helstrom Family Trail System.
“Land acquisition is a priority for completing the Greenway and for the Parks Foundation,” said Parks Commission President and Foundation Board Member David VanGinhoven.” Donations like the one from the John J. Helstrom estate are so important to helping the County Parks protect critical properties and have an impact that goes well beyond the amount given, because they can leverage other public funding sources. In this case, the impact of the gift was multiplied over tenfold.”