NORTON SHORES — Muskegon County officials are deciding whether to purchase the former Nugent Sand Co. Inc. property to expand recreational opportunities in the county.
The land along Lake Michigan in Norton Shores has been on the market for about two years, after Nugent Sand Co. completed sand mining operations in 2016.
Making the 377 acres of land public would increase access to areas that have been privately owned.
“The county of Muskegon will look to some of our residents for public input on the recreational opportunities at the land if the acquisition were to happen,” said Caitlin Ward, marketing and operations manager at the Muskegon County Convention & Visitors Bureau. “The biggest opportunity is the access to Lake Michigan, the access to two inland lakes and access to some critical dune area.”
The property contains 1,917 feet of frontage on Lake Michigan. It sits in the city of Norton Shores south of Sherman Boulevard, north of Seminole Road and west of Lincoln Street.
The Land Conservancy of West Michigan and Shoreline Development Assistance are working with Muskegon County and the landowner to develop a plan for the purchase of the property and make it a recreation area. If the proposal moves forward, the partners would seek out grants, foundation funding and private donations to acquire the property.
After taking public input, the county could submit an application for a grant from the Michigan Department of Natural Resources Trust Fund for the property. The deadline to apply for funding this year is April 1.
Muskegon County officials will hold public information sessions, and the Board of Commissioners will discuss the potential acquisition on Feb. 13.
“A great deal of work remains to be done to bring this potential land acquisition to fruition, but we wanted to explore the idea and get the public’s input on the future of this property,” Mark Eisenbarth, Muskegon County administrator, said in a statement.
The acquisition process could take two years, according to the county.