Negaunee Old Town safe from development

By Journal Staff

NEGAUNEE — City of Negaunee officials recently learned the 315 acres of property contained in the Old Town area is more protected from development than previously thought.

“The city thought nonrecreational development of the Old Town area was restricted for a limited period of time of about 30 to 40 years,” city Manager Nate Heffron said. “However, after consulting the Michigan Department of Natural Resources for clarification, as well as consultation with the city attorney, it has been determined that the 315 acres of Old Town is safe from all nonrecreational development forever.”

Heffron said this is because the land is encumbered by agreement with the Michigan DNR requiring the land remain recreational.

According to the city attorney, an encumbrance is a restriction or claim on a property’s use or ownership.

The agreement between Negaunee and the DNR for the funding to build the Jackson Mine Playground on the property encumbers the property because the agreement requires the whole parcel to remain in the recreational portfolio for public use and enjoyment.

If the city were to permit development on the property, it would be at risk of having to pay back grant funds to the DNR.

“This is great news,” Heffron said. “This aligns with the city’s recreation plan, and master plan, as well as the city’s past and current economic development plans. I can confidently say that the city of Negaunee is not in the business of returning grant dollars.

“Our community relies on these grant dollars to meet the expectations of our residents, business owners, and visitors. Our economic future is tied to recreation and outdoor tourism, we cannot afford to harm our relationship with the DNR or lose out on grants.

“The Old Town area under this agreement is safe from non-recreational development now and forever.”

Questions may be directed to Heffron at 906-475-7700, ext. 11.


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