The City of Ann Arbor Open Space and Parkland Preservation Program, also known as the Greenbelt Program, is happy to announce it just closed on three land protection projects.
A 27.5 acre conservation easement on Seeley Farm, a certified organic vegetable farm in Ann Arbor Township. Washtenaw County also contributed toward the purchase price.
Drake Farm in Lodi Township, a 72-acre agricultural operation that is a family-owned dairy, also grows corn and hay. Funding came from the USDA-NRCS under their Agricultural Conservation Easement Program (ACEP), Washtenaw County and Lodi Township in addition to the Greenbelt. The City of Ann Arbor holds the easement rights.
Shatter Family Trust, a 25-acre fee acquisition where the Greenbelt partnered with Legacy Land Conservancy, Washtenaw County and Salem Township. Legacy was the lead on this project and now holds the preserve, which will ultimately be open to the public once a trail is built. It is located about ¼ miles south of Legacy’s existing Creekshead Preserve. The name of the preserve will be the “Anthony and Rose Shatter Family Preserve.” This is the 10th publicly accessible preserve that the Greenbelt contributed to.
The Greenbelt has now protected more than 5,340 acres in 57 projects; 98 acres of the protected land are part of the city’s parks system. The Greenbelt Program is funded by the Open Space and Parkland Preservation Millage, a 30-year millage approved by Ann Arbor voters in 2003 that also funds the acquisition of parklands for the city’s parks system and raises more than $2 million annually.
The millage is expected to generate $80 million over 30 years. These funds are matched by locally funded programs, landowner donations and federal grants, including funding from ACEP, a Farm Bill program administered by USDA-NRCS that provides financial assistance to eligible partners for purchasing agricultural conservation easements, with the goal of helping farmers and other producers keep their land in agriculture.
The Greenbelt Program protects land by purchasing the development rights on properties within the Greenbelt district, which is made up of portions of eight townships surrounding the city, and by partnering with Washtenaw County and other local partners to purchase natural areas for publicly accessible parks. The city partners with The Conservation Fund, a national nonprofit conservation organization, to help implement the program.