Michigan DNR Moves Ahead With Deal to Sell 500 Acres to Commerce Township for Park
Michigan –-(Ammoland.com)- A land transaction that would sell 500 acres of state-owned land in Oakland County’s Commerce Township to the township to develop into a public outdoor recreation facility is nearing completion, as Department of Natural Resources Director Rodney Stokes authorized the DNR to move ahead with the deal at the June 9 meeting of the Michigan Natural Resources Commission.
The two-phase deal includes sale of approximately 502 acres in Commerce Township to the township for a total of $2.805 million. The first phase includes sale of a 201.4 acre parcel for $1,282,140, with a closing to occur before Sept. 15. The second phase includes the sale of 301.3 acres for $1,522,860, with a closing to occur before April 15, 2012.
The transaction is the culmination of a multi-year discussion between the DNR and Commerce Township about the sale of the land for public recreation and open space uses. Under the sale agreement reached, the township agreed to keep the property open to the public for open space, wildlife habitat and public outdoor education purposes.
The property, known as the Proud Lake Recreation Area – East Unit, was partially used in the 1950s as a Nike missile base by the US Department of Defense. Due to its occupation by the Department of Defense, the property was closed to the public, and not actively managed as part of the Proud Lake Recreation Area. In 2006, the DNR re-evaluated the property as a part of its statewide Land Consolidation Strategy, and recommended that the 502 acres be sold or exchanged.
The property is bisected by Wise Road, which divides it into two distinct parcels. The north portion is approximately 253 acres and undeveloped. The south portion is approximately 248 acres, including 72 acres that contained the former Nike missile site. The former missile silos on the property have been filled in and the area now consists of open fields.
The sale agreement requires the township to keep the land as open space, in a generally natural condition, for wildlife habitat and public outdoor education purposes. The 72-acre former missile site that was formerly developed can once again be developed to host active outdoor recreation facilities and fields, tennis or basketball courts or ice rinks. The property can be used for events, classes, instructional activities, contests, tournaments or similar events that promote the outdoors. The agreement also allows Commerce Township to charge fees to offset the cost of ownership, operation and maintenance of the property.
Proceeds from the sale of the property will go into a restricted fund the DNR uses to purchase land for public recreation purposes. Priority will be given to lands within DNR boundaries in state game areas, parks and recreation areas, and other high quality outdoor recreation land in southern Michigan. A portion of the proceeds will be used to acquire replacement lands that meet the criteria for lands acquired with funds from the state’s Game and Fish Protection Fund.
The Michigan Department of Natural Resources is committed to the conservation, protection, management, use and enjoyment of the state’s natural and cultural resources for current and future generations. For more information, go to www.michigan.gov/dnr.