NORTON SHORES, Mich., (WOOD) — Muskegon County is one step closer to purchasing an old sand mine and transforming it into the county’s 8th park.
This comes after Governor Gretchen Whitmer signed HB 4469 on Thursday. The bipartisan bill allocates $37.8 million for state recreation. Muskegon County will receive about $5 million of that money, which they plan to use to purchase the Nugent Sand Company Property on Lincoln St. in Norton Shores.
The Nugent Sand Company was in business for more than a century before shutting down operations in 2017. The property went up for sale about 2 years ago.
“There’s a trail in the south portion of the property that’s about 2.2 miles long, very wooded. There’s good terrain in there. There’s dune areas and ecosystems in there. So it’ll be a great place for visitors and residents to explore,” said Bob Lukens, the Community Development Director for the Muskegon County Convention and Visitor’s Center.
Lukens says there are plans to add signage, some parking and improve existing trails. The county wants to change the name of the 377 acre property to Dune Harbor Park.
“To be honest with you, we don’t have to do a lot there. We’re trying to keep it as natural as possible,” said Lukens.
The $5 million grant only accounts for payment of the south end of the property. The county is currently in the process of acquiring an addition $5 million in grant funding to purchase the other half of the park.
“Lake Michigan property is going fast. People are snapping up any of the properties that are available on Lake Michigan with Lake Michigan frontage, and so the county wanted to work proactively to acquire this property and keep it in the public trust,” said Lukens.
Lukens says the county is expected to close on the south end of the property this fall. The county would then have 90 days to open the park.
It hopes to know the status of the grant for the north end of the property by the end of the year.
The county is asking for community input in the meantime. They’ll be holding a public zoom meeting on May 17 at 6 p.m. More information can be found on Muskegon County’s website.