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Village to try for land purchase with state grant again

Marie Havenga • Jul 21, 2015 at 11:03 AM

Council voted to proceed with a $330,000 Michigan Department of Natural Resources Trust Fund grant that was originally planned for an attempt to purchase nine parcels. Eight of the parcels could have been used for phase 2 of the Grand River Greenway and additional public paths along the Grand River; and the ninth being the parcel at the southeast corner of Exchange and School streets, which is used for overflow parking for Mill Point Park events.

The state Trust Fund Board approved the grant in December 2010, but it stalled at the Village Council level last month after Councilman Marv VandenBosch and Ann Street neighbors voiced opposition to the greenway’s phase 2 proposed path.

On July 18, council discussed ways to salvage the purchase of the Mill Point Park parcel. A Trust Fund staff member in an e-mail to Village Manager Ryan Cotton indicated that council must first approve the grant as written — for all nine parcels — before making any amendments.

“You can’t do what you’re going to try to do here tonight,” VandenBosch said prior to council’s affirmative vote to approve the grant and then, under a second motion, amend the grant with the goal of purchasing only the Mill Point parcel with $129,400 of DNR Trust Fund grant money and $40,000 of village funds.

Part of the approved motion was that village staff would let Trust Fund officials know of their intent to return the remainder of the $330,000 grant.

VandenBosch said council members were wrong in accepting the grant and modifying it. He raised his voice and recounted how he kicked Cotton out of his towing business office for “not answering my questions.” 

To read more of this story, see today’s print or e-edition of the Grand Haven Tribune.

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