Proos votes to support three Natural Resources Trust Fund projects in Southwest Michigan

LANSING?The Senate Appropriations Committee on Wednesday approved legislation allocating $27.6 million from the Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund (MNRTF) to natural resources improvement projects across the state, said Sen. John Proos.

The trust fund is supported by interest earned on funds generated from the development of state-owned mineral rights.

“The Natural Resources Trust Fund is dedicated to making Michigan a better place to live, work and raise a family,” said Proos, R-St. Joseph. “By using these constitutionally restricted funds to enhance our quality of life with vibrant parks and recreational resources, we are also making our state more attractive to job creators and top talent.”

Senate Bill 780 authorizes the trust fund to spend $27.6 million to support 32 acquisition projects and 44 development projects. Matching funds of $18.9 million bring the total investment to more than $46.5 million.

“This plan will support three projects in Southwest Michigan totaling $842,000, including a 12.2-acre acquisition for a proposed Kruger Road Park in New Buffalo Township,” Proos said. “Together with the township’s development of Glassman Park, this project will give families greater access to the outdoors by extending the Galien River Water Trail by nearly four miles.”

SB 780 specifically provides $150,000 toward the $220,000 land acquisition, which is boarded by 2,300 feet of river frontage for a future public access point for nature trails, fishing and boating activities.

Two other projects in the 21st Senate District also funded by the measure include:
• $114,500 toward an acquisition of 24 acres to expand Love Creek County Park in Berrien Center to continue public access to the creek and protect its watershed; and
• $300,000 toward a $489,800 improvement of Union Field Park in Benton Harbor, featuring a resurfacing of three baseball fields and adding fencing, an ADA restroom, lighting, bleachers and playground equipment.

SB 780 has been sent to the full Senate, which is expected to approve the measure on Tuesday.