MUSKEGON, Mich. (AP) — The first phase of Muskegon County’s newest lakefront park will open in March now that the sale of the sprawling former sand mine has been finalized.
The purchase of 214 acres for Dune Harbor Park was closed on Dec. 16, according to officials with the county and Nugent Sand Company.
The park now must open to the public within 90 days under terms of a $5 million Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund grant that helped fund the purchase, The Muskegon Chronicle reports.
Dune Harbor Park is in Norton Shores. It will be used for such passive uses as hiking and kayaking. No motorized boats will be allowed on its inland lake, a manmade body created through the mining of sand.
The park includes 200 feet of frontage on Lake Michigan.
Nugent Sand owner Robert Chandonnet provided $3.3 million for the purchase in memory of his late wife, Lynne, and the Land Conservancy of West Michigan also provided money to match the trust fund grant.
“This is a meaningful legacy gift for Bob and his family,” Nugent Sand’s real estate representative Denny Cherette said in a prepared statement. “For over 40 years, Bob, through Nugent Sand, has been the steward of this truly unique land. This is the most visible and significant gift that Bob and his family have contributed.
“They are delighted to be able to give this multigenerational gift to Muskegon County residents and visitors as an enduring legacy.”
A second $5 million trust fund grant recently was recommended to Gov. Gretchen Whitmer for approval, which would assist with the purchase of the second phase of the park. That adjacent 162-acre property, also owned by Nugent Sand, includes an inland lake and 1,460 feet of Lake Michigan frontage.
Winnetaska Road bisects the two parcels of property.
“This project has been one of the county’s most exciting land acquisitions, and we want to thank all of those involved in making it a reality for the residents of Muskegon County and West Michigan,” Muskegon County Administrator Mark Eisenbarth said in a prepared statement.
Two parking lots for the first phase of Dune Harbor Park will be developed next spring. One lot will be placed off Lincoln across from Southwood Avenue. The other will be at the end of Seminole Road near Norton Hills Road. Completion of the lighted paved lots is expected next March or April.
Details of the opening plan for the park will be shared with the public in February, Eisenbarth said.