Contact: Chris Bunch, Six Rivers Land Conservancy
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 22, 2020
Multi-use nature center and paddle sports area coming to Chesterfield Twp
33-acres of Salt River property acquired by Six Rivers Land Conservancy
Six Rivers Land Conservancy today announced the recent acquisition of 33-acres of natural land on the Salt River on behalf of Chesterfield Township. Six Rivers will hold and protect the property for Chesterfield Township while they apply to the Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund for a grant to help fund their purchase of the property from Six Rivers.
“Six Rivers is thrilled to partner with Chesterfield Township and Macomb County to acquire and preserve this property," said Chris Bunch, executive director of Six Rivers Land Conservancy. "Preserving this property will help protect the ecological integrity and wildlife habitat in the region, and will increase access to nature in the region.”
The property is a central part of the Macomb County Blue Economy Initiative’s Salt River Intracoastal Marina District. Currently, the property is undeveloped in a natural state and contains a rich variety of wildlife with wetland and upland wooded areas. This acquisition and future development of the property by Chesterfield Township as the Salt River Nature Center will provide residents with additional open space, recreational opportunities and access to the Salt River and the Lake St. Clair Coastal Water Trail. Nature paths, boardwalks, a blueway paddle trail, wildlife viewing areas and wildlife educational resources are anticipated.
“With increased awareness of the importance and accessibility of recreational assets and the retention of residents, this is the type of acquisition that is vital to Macomb County’s future,” said Gerard Santoro, program director for parks and natural resources, Macomb County Planning and Economic Development.
The property has been on the radar for Macomb County for several years. In 2012, Macomb County Executive Mark Hackel authorized the Blue Economy Initiative to promote quality of life, economic development and environmental stewardship of the Lake St. Clair area, including the Salt River. According to Hackel: “Our connection to the water has always been important to the people of Macomb County, and this Salt River area will become another destination and an important part of our Blue Economy.”
Dan Acciavatti, Chesterfield Township supervisor, is excited about this future park and adds that: "Acquiring and developing this property is a key step in protecting the Salt River from further contamination and preserving natural resources, while providing residents and visitors access to open space and future park programming.”
Most recently, Chesterfield Township has been in the process of developing the nearby Wayne and Joan Webber Paddling Park on Jefferson Avenue. The new acquisition will complement the park and create a recreation destination.
The purchase of the property by Six Rivers was made possible by a revolving loan from First State Bank in St. Clair Shores. Gene Lovell, president and CEO of First State Bank, said: “As a community bank headquartered in Macomb County, we are so pleased to have the opportunity to participate in moving this project forward. Efforts to preserve and protect these natural habitats serve to improve the quality of our own lives, and secure precious resources for future generations to enjoy.”
To celebrate the acquisition, a site preview and ceremonial shoveling event was held on Wednesday, July 22. A volunteer clean up and kayaking from the new site down to the new Webber Paddling Park followed.
The Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund Board will meet in early December 2020 to award acquisition and development grants to local, regional and state recreation agencies. If awarded, development of the Salt River area could start in 2021. For more information on the project, click here.
Supporting materials, including renderings and photos of the site, are available here.
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