CANNON TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WOOD) — The Kent County Parks Department has taken the first steps toward expanding Townsend Park.

Parks officials addressed the topic at Tuesday’s Finance & Physical Resources Committee meeting. So far, the Department has requested approval for a DNR project agreement. That would allow them to use grant money from the Michigan Department of Natural Resources to offset approximately 70% of the purchase.

The Board of Commissioners could sign off on the project agreement as early as Thursday. However, Dan De Looff, the Executive Director of Kent County Parks, made clear that the process is in its early stages and that land is not open to the public.

The proposed property is adjacent to the park. De Looff said the property is a mix between forest and fields and has been held by a local family for decades.

If the County Board agrees on the project agreement, it will allow De Looff and his parks team to move forward securing a potential deal. That includes an environmental impact study, an appraisal and a purchase agreement with the property owners.

Assuming the project moves forward and the Parks Department can secure a deal for the land, De Looff doesn’t expect the sale to be completed before Spring 2023.

Townsend Park includes extensive hiking trails and three separate picnic areas and playgrounds. Bear Creek runs through the park, offering up more than a mile of fishing access.