Douglas Council Approves Study To Assess Development Of Miro Property
It is an endless circle regarding the 16.4-acre portion of the former MiRo Golf Course property that the City of Douglas is in the process of purchasing.
While some adjacent property owners continue to ask city officials what development plans the city has for the property, city officials continue to provide the same answer, saying there are no development plans as of right now because they themselves need further information.
The discussion came to a head at Monday night’s council meeting when the council approved a $5,000 study to look at the marketability and development potential of the “southwest quadrant.”
The southwest quadrant consists of what are known as the MiRo (50 acres) and Haworth (7.1 acres) properties as well as the MiRo Golf Course property (16.4 acres) which the city is buying from the Joseph Migas Trust for $196,600.
“I have no idea what use this consultant (for the market analysis) would have,” said local resident Dana Bird, whose property is adjacent to the MiRo purchase. “Shouldn’t the city first say, ‘Here is what we would like to do with this property’?”
Douglas Council Member Lisa Greenwood provided an answer: “The reason why we are not telling you what we are doing with the property is because it is a process that involves the community.”
In April, the city entered into a purchase agreement for the Migas property, located in Saugatuck Township adjacent to Douglas borders. The city expects to soon close on the property.
Environmental test of the property have been part of the process, and the city is still investigating whether the arsenic found in the property poses any serious threats. Douglas City Manager Bill LeFevere said on Monday that initial reviews seem to indicate no serious problems.
Suggesting that the city is looking at a number of possibilities for the Migas property, a June 26 press release issued by Douglas Community Development Director Ryan Kilpatrick states: “The purpose of the property acquisition was initially intended only to accommodate additional storage requirements of the city’s department of public works.”
When Douglas first announced plans to for the Migas purchase, residential neighbors started to circulate a petition against it, expressing concerns over how development and future zoning would impact their property (e.g. reduce property value, etc.). An Online petition at MoveOn.org has also been started.
Burd’s wife, Kara Burd, also spoke during the public comments section of the meeting, asking council bluntly: “Is it the intent of the city to sell the property?” It was a question the council was visibly annoyed by and did not want to comment on. Nevertheless, Greenwood did respond, saying, “We have no ulterior motive here.”
City officials are promoting the southwest quadrant study as a long range development plan that will be in keeping with the city’s master plan and the Tri-Community plan. It will be, said Kilpatrick, a way to keep ahead of the curve and prevent “a bunch of boxes.”