Push to keep stretch of beach public in Chikaming Township
HARBERT, Mich – The clock is ticking on an effort to keep a local beach as it is.
The 400-foot beachfront property alongside Cherry Beach on Lake Michigan is up for sale and the Cherry Beach committee wants to keep it open to the public.
“I would absolutely love to keep this open to the public, the less development the better “ frequent Cherry Beach visitor Benny Meredith said.
The Committee has to raise $1.1 million dollars to meet the 25% match of just over 4 million dollars that the property is valued at to receive the grant from the Michigan Department of Natural Resources.
The committee held its first meeting in January, began fundraising in February and they’ve risen over 90% of their fundraising goal.
Cherry Beach committee member Peggy McTighe says opening up the additional land would make the area more accessible to the public.
“It would enlarge our park by almost two-thirds so there’s seven miles of beachfront in Chikaming township right now and only 2% is currently public” McTighe says.
Committee members and neighbors are worried that if they don’t reach their goal the property will become site developable meaning private properties could be built on it, making it off limits to the public.
The land is owned by Chikaming Township after it was deeded to the township by the previous owner.
McTighe says this effort to preserve the land is about the future.
“I think what it means is that your children and your grandchidren’s children will have aguarantee of a beach in perpetuity where there won’t be development next to what we think and what we all believe is so beautiful now” McTighe said.
There’s two weeks left in the campaign and committee members say they’re optimistic about reaching the goal.