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Clinton County looks to create county park near DeWitt

Posted at 10:08 PM, Feb 21, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-21 23:23:39-05

Clinton County it looking to create a new county park near DeWitt

The county Parks and Greenspace department is applying for a $439,000 grant from the Michigan Department of Natural Resources to create its third county park in the past 10 years, and the first on the county’s south side.

Sights are set on 7575 W. Pratt Rd. in Riley Township, a 67-acre lot with woods and a 6-acre lake.

The land is home to an excavating company, making it now, essentially “a gravel pit,” said Kyle Thornton, Clinton County Parks and Greenspace coordinator.

The owners of the land, listed in online county records as Bernard Simon and Stephani Shafer, agreed to wait to sell the property until the county gets the money, county officials said.

Pratt Road

The Clinton County Board of Commissioners has agreed to match the $439,000 grant, should the application be approved, for the total cost of the land, $879,900. Thornton says they won’t know if their application has been be approved until December.

“And once we would get the grant, it’s about a six months to a year process in order for the funds to become available, as well. We’d probably be looking at applying for additional grants in 2023 to start the development of the property,” Thornton said.

For the past two years, both Thornton and Kam Washburn, chairman of the Clinton County Board of Commissioners, have been investigating the potential of a south side county park after community surveys taken five years ago indicated overwhelmingly that residents wanted more opportunities for outdoor recreation.

Clinton Lakes County Park

“Especially water-based recreation opportunities,” Washburn said.

Residents proved it last summer, when community usage of Motz County Park and Clinton Lakes County Park was at an all-time high.

“We have never had that type of usage of the parks in the past..." Washburn said. "I will also add, the pandemic has added to that need in that people are looking for more outdoor recreation opportunities. People desire to get outside, especially in the summer."

There's another factor contributing to demand that isn’t as obvious.

“In each 10-year census since 1990, in general terms, every census our population has increased by at least 10,000 people,” Washburn said.

Clinton County Courthouse

The five-year-plan for the park includes opportunities for kayaking, swimming, fishing, hunting and canoeing, as well as beaches, pavilions, restrooms, playgrounds, similar to the other two county parks.

The Clinton County Board of Commissioners is hosting a public hearing Tuesday at 9 a.m. to get feedback from the community.

Thornton says that in developing of the park, access will be one the of most important elements, meaning making it usable to people with a range of physical abilities and allowing entry free of charge.

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Lauren Shields

Lauren Shields

8:25 PM, Aug 21, 2019

Your Neighborhood Reporter

Lauren Shields

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