Conservancy Partners with Suttons Bay Township to Create the 45th Parallel Park

From our 2007 Summer Newsletter

It’s official. Suttons Bay Township and the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) have a new jointly-owned park. MDOT owns the four-acre waterfront strip of land along M-22 just north of Suttons Bay known as the “45th Parallel Park.” The state’s portion includes 435 feet of West Grand Traverse Bay. The township acquired 43 adjacent acres just across M-22, where it plans to create walking trails, scenic overlooks and interpretive signage.

Suttons Bay and MDOT officials closed on the property in April. The lion’s share of the project funds came from a $419,000 MDOT grant. Suttons Bay Township was able to secure the funds in part because M-22 is part of the state designated Leelanau Scenic Heritage Route. The grant funding left a $96,000 shortfall and so the township absorbed half the burden and approached the Leelanau Conservancy for help with raising the remaining funds. “We’re glad to help preserve this beautiful piece of land for the public to enjoy,” says Brian Price, Conservancy Director. “Suttons Bay Township is to be commended for having a vision for this park and working so hard to make it happen.”

The new park is a culmination of years of work and coordination between local, state and federal public officials, the Conservancy, the Leelanau Scenic Heritage Route Committee, Rotary Charities, Northwest Council of Governments and  ordinary citizens serving on township committees. “It’s a great example of what can happen when people have a vision and are willing to work together,” said Tom Nixon, chairperson of the Heritage Route Committee and a member of the township’s parks and recreation committee.

Dick Catton, a trustee on the township board, agrees. “It was great to see how the private community and all levels of government can work together for the public benefit. It was a team effort and we all win.”

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