By David Fleet
Groveland Twp.-A new state park moved one step closer, while any future plans for a landfill faded.
Late last month the Michigan Department of Natural Resources purchased 113 acres of property from Steve Stolaruk of Star-Batt, Inc. and 122 acres from Katie Leoni of Holly Disposal. The 235 acres, now mined for gravel, but earmarked for a state park, comes after the DNR reported in December 2014 a grant for $2.9 million was approved from the Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund.
In conjunction with the Oakland County Parks, the state property is intended to be used for a professionally designed off-road track state park. The concept will test the skills of drivers and abilities of machines at slow speeds, in a safe, legal environment on the south side of Mt. Holly where the noise will not be intrusive nor change the character of the community. The off-road track was opened to the public as a test in late 2014 and attracted several hundred spectators during the Dixie Gully Run.
Jon Noyes, principal planner with Oakland County Parks, said this is good news.
“All of the $2.9 million was not used for the purchase,” said Noyes. “There are still other properties of interest ripe for the adaptive reuse of mining property. These two acquisitions are also important because they are most likely to be considered for a possible landfill in the township—they are deep mines which make them conducive to fill with trash. This is wonderful for the community. The off-road facility will balance the economics with the quality of life.”
The park is set to open in 2018.
Noyes reminded area residents that while the property does belong to the DNR, it is not yet open to the public.
“For the near future the property will be leased back to the previous owners to complete the extraction,” he said. “It’s very dangerous, just stay away. As the property is mined deeper it will create a more extreme topography and reduce the sound that may arise from the park.”
Bob DePalma, township supervisor, was pleased.
“We could not be happier,” said DePalma. “This four-year effort to put a permanent end to the possibility of a landfill and an ORV park for the public is a win-win.”
By David Fleet