GT County Sells Land To Conservancy After Community Response

“It’s not all about the money,” said Carol Crawford, chairwoman for Grand Traverse County Board of Commissioners.

Grand Traverse County was deciding which offer to accept, to buy a parcel of land in Whitewater Township.

Grand Traverse County Commissioners voted six to one on Wednesday to sell the 160 acres to a non-profit group.

There were four offers on the table, but Grand Traverse Regional Land Conservancy will be the ones to buy it.

In our top story, 9&10’s Whitney Amann shows us what went into the decision.

“This property is more important than I think we can possibly understand,” said Glen Chown, Executive Director for Grand Traverse Regional Land Conservancy.

Property that some just see as 160 acres, had others holding up green cards throughout the meeting as a way to show their desire to keep the property public.

“We talk a lot about price, we focus on that price number but as Americans, and as Americans we’re good at focusing on price, we also have to look at value and our offer had a very strong price but it brings an immense value that is hard to quantify but it’s very significant,” said Chown.

The Whitewater Township land was put on the market last month as one of the ways to address the pension debt and some commissioners on Wednesday just wanted it to go to the highest bidder.

“I never would have thought we would have been turning down a high bid but I can see where we’re going to be headed with taking care of our pension, it’s going to be, I don’t know where we’re headed but it’s not anywhere profitable,” said Ron Clous, Vice Chair for Grand Traverse County Board of Commissioners.

Commissioners decided to turn down three other offers, one that was $100,000 more than their asking price.

“I think that to sell it, this property, just to the highest bidder is very short sighted and I think that the Land Conservancy and the DNR have longer sights on that, it is for the public good,” said Crawford.

The land will eventually be transferred to the state where the five trails that run through the property will continue to be used for races and events, throughout the year.

“The Iceman Cometh Race route, this race brings over $2 million annual into our region and direct spending in November, kind of tough to bring in dollars to hotels and our businesses in November,” said Chown.

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