ANN ARBOR NEWS
Purchase to be 3rd biggest natural area
Monday, May 15, 2006
BY TRACY DAVIS
News Staff Reporter
Washtenaw County is about to close on the purchase of another natural areas property, its third biggest since the inception of the millage-funded program in 2000.
The 160-acre Superior Township tract, at the southeast corner of Ford and Prospect roads, boasts a half-mile of frontage along both roads. That will go a long way toward preserving property in the fast-developing township, county officials said.
The land, called the Kosch property, came at a cost of $3.1 million, or $19,375 per acre. It's pricey, county officials acknowledged, but with money left over in the millage for the past two years, it doesn't even put a dent into what's available in the 2006 budget.
"We'll never have another opportunity like this on the east side of the county again,'' said Bob Tetens, director of the county parks and recreation department. "Canton is knocking at the door.''
A little less than half the land is active farmland, said Tom Freeman, superintendent of parks planning for the county. The rest is wetlands, creek and waterways and mature woods, including an impressive stand of beech trees, he said.
Officials said the purchase, which will be completed soon, brings the total Natural Areas Preservation Program holdings to 940 acres.
The program is funded through a 10-year, quarter-mill tax that was passed in 2000 to help preserve environmentally significant or important natural areas in the county. Only passive recreation, such as hiking or birdwatching, is permitted in county natural areas.
The Kosch property backs up to the Springhill Nature Preserve, owned by the Southeast Michigan Land Conservancy. The conservancy has offered to help clean up the property, maintain trails, restore prairie and wetlands and provide access through its property, which reduces the maintenance costs to taxpayers.
The property will be actively farmed through the end of this season and won't be open to the public before then, county officials said.
Tracy Davis can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or
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