By David Fleet
Apparently many people have suggestions to name the new state park.
In fact, more than 750 have heeded the request of the Michigan Department of Natural Resources last month to name the state’s newest state park located in a former sand and gravel mining operation in Groveland and Holly townships off I-75 at Grange Hall Road and Dixie Highway.
Jason Fleming, chief of resource protection and promotion for the Michigan Department of Natural Resources’ Parks and Recreation Division said the outpouring of names swelled over about a month.
“Requesting names for the park was a great, fun way to hear from the people,” said Fleming. “Some names were humorous, others more serious. From the results it’s very clear Michigan State parks have a far reaching interest not only in Michigan but nationwide.”
Fleming said names came in from as far away as South Carolina.
On May 23, DNR along with Oakland County Park officials will convene and collaborate on a name, it still may take some time he added.
The collaborative efforts moved forward after April 2, 2019 when the Oakland County Board of Commissioners OK’d a 20-year operating agreement, with a 10-year additional option, with the Michigan Department of Natural Resources.
Under the agreement, the Oakland County Parks and Recreation Commission will operate the ORV Park, located in Groveland and Holly townships, in partnership with the MDNR.
The current plan, for Oakland County’s 14th park is to finalize design by this fall, complete any construction in the spring of 2020 and have the park open by July 2020.
“We are looking for a name that reflects the history and the area,” he said. “It’s important the name will prompt the marketing of the park and the growth of the facility.”
The ORV park incorporates 235 acres on property once mined for gravel. The MDNR reported in December 2014 a grant for $2.9 million was approved from the Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund to purchase the property, however, only a portion of the grant was used so far. Currently, about 145 acres of the 235 will be included in the first phase of the ORV park. Some of the remaining acreage is still mined by area companies.
Bob DePalma, Groveland township supervisor along with nine area officials have suggested The Mines of Oakland as the name of the ORV park.
“It seems to me the nearly 1,800 members of the off road groups who endorse the Mines of Oakland name coupled with those with local jurisdiction should be able to continue the current name,” said DePalma. “We have been calling it The Mines for the last five years.”
The property upon which the parks is built, consists of former and active sand and gravel mines; mining is slated to continue after the opening of the park until 2023.
Along with DePalma, Colin Walls, Springfield Township supervisor; Robert Hoffman, 2nd District Oakland County board of commissioners; Toni Brinker, Holly Township Parks director, Jerry Walker, Village of Holly manager, Senator Ruth Johnson, 12 District (Groveland and Holly) have endorsed The Mines as the new name.