Ann Arbor greenbelt expands, buys Narrow Gauge Woods

If grandma lives in Ann Arbor, the city is doing its best to make sure you have to go over the river and through the woods to get to her house.

The latest installment of the city's Greenbelt Program is the $1.8 million purchase of the Narrow Gauge Woods. Bought from
Narrow Gauge Holdings Inc. and Sondra Gunn, the 13.5 acres forest site, commonly known to many as Narrow Gauge Woods, was the only site recommended in the Millers Creek Watershed Improvement Plan for protection. Based on the high floristic quality of the area and the high quality of onsite Millers Creek, preserving the property has been a priority for the city for a number of years.

“This is a beautiful site with big oak trees and high banks overlooking a wooded valley," said Dave Borneman, Natural Area Preservation Program Manager. "We’re excited to have it protected as parkland.”

The city's Greenbelt Program provides funding to preserve and protect open space, natural habitats and farms in the Ann Arbor area by purchasing development rights. The city acquires these rights from willing sellers who apply to participate in the program.

Ann Arbor voters approved a 0.5-mill millage over 30 years to establish the Greenbelt Program in 2003. Since then the program has acquired the rights to more than 700 acres. The most recent purchase is of John and Beverly Alexander's 70-acre farm in Northfield Township. The city spent $1.015 million on the purchase, utilizing a $335,000 federal grant from the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture's Federal Farm and Ranchlands Protection Program to partially subsidize the transaction.

Source: City of Ann Arbor
Writer: Jon Zemke

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