On July 25, Ottawa County Parks completed the acquisition of the Ottawa Sands property in Ferrysburg, MI
This summer, Ottawa County Parks received a $3.82 million grant from the Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund Board to complete the acquisition of the Ottawa Sands. This grant, along with $200,000 of privately-raised funds by the Land Conservancy of West Michigan, funded the second phase of property acquisition.
The first phase of acquisition was made possible by a $4.2 million grant from the Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund (MNRTF) in 2018 and allowed Ottawa County Parks to purchase 188 acres of the property. The Land Conservancy purchased the remaining 157 acres in the summer of 2018 by securing a loan from The Conservation Fund, a national organization specializing in low-interest loans for conservation projects. In the year before the second phase of acquisition the Land Conservancy of West Michigan leased its 157 acres to Ottawa County Parks for management, so the park could open to the public.
“Ottawa Sands was an incredible opportunity, and all parties had to act quickly to secure its protection,” said Land Conservancy Executive Director Joe Engel. “We saw the immense value in working with Ottawa County Parks to protect this remarkable piece of property and are very grateful that the community stepped up to make this happen.”
“Being able to close on this property in my first month with Ottawa County Parks was incredibly exciting. Ottawa Sands is clearly special to our community and to the Trust Fund,” said Jason Shamblin, Ottawa County Parks Director. “To receive $8 million in grant funding and over $200,000 in private donations speaks for itself.”
“The Trust Fund grants were critical to the success of this project, and the outstanding support from the community was integral in securing them,” Engel said. “West Michigan stepped up for Ottawa Sands, and we have this stunning new park to show for it.”
Thanks to strong support from the community, The Land Conservancy of West Michigan exceeded its initial fundraising goal, raising nearly $400,000 to secure Ottawa Sands. Half of the funds were used to offset the MNRTF grant and the other half covered expenses related to the loan.
Additional support for this project came from Ottawa Sand Company; Loutit Foundation; Ottawa County Parks Foundation; J.A. Woollam Foundation; the North Bank Communities Fund, Greatest Needs Fund, Environment Fund and the William T. and Shirley A. Baker Fund of the Grand Haven Area Community Foundation; and many generous donors.
Ottawa County Parks and the Land Conservancy of West Michigan is celebrating this monumental acquisition with a special event on Tuesday, October 15 from 4:30-6:30 pm.
The evening will include naturalist-led hikes and property tours beginning at 4:30 pm and 6 pm. A short ceremony will begin at 5:30 pm. Light refreshments will be provided. This is an outdoor event, be sure to dress for the weather.