July 15, 2019 – As the Ann Arbor Greenbelt celebrates 15 years, and the halfway mark of the 30-year Open Space and Parkland Preservation Program millage, the Greenbelt Advisory Commission (GAC) has announced it will undertake a review of its strategic plan.
Originally drafted in 2006, and reviewed in 2013, the strategic plan guides the commission’s overall priorities. Central to the strategic plan is a commitment to building vibrant blocks of farmland within priority areas, preserving land along the Huron River, and leveraging funds from partner organizations.
“The current strategic plan has served the commission well,” Chairperson Jennifer Fike explained, “However, the plan needs updating. We need the public in Ann Arbor, as well as those in the eight surrounding townships that overlap with the Greenbelt, to weigh in with their ideas and suggestions.”
To encourage public participation in the review process, the GAC will be holding three public meetings. These meetings will allow stakeholders and the public to meet and review the strategic plan.
- Monday, July 29, 5:30–7:30 p.m. — Ann Arbor District Library, Westgate Branch, 2503 Jackson Ave., Ann Arbor.
- Thursday, Aug. 15, 5:30–7:30 p.m. — Ann Arbor District Library, Traverwood Branch, 3333 Traverwood Drive, Ann Arbor.
- Thursday, Sept. 5, 4:30–7 p.m. — Larcom City Hall, second floor City Council chambers, 301 E. Huron St., Ann Arbor.
For those unable to attend a public meeting, the current Greenbelt strategic plan (PDF) is available (also on the program’s website, www.a2gov.org/greenbelt), and comments or suggestions can be submitted to firstname.lastname@example.org before the final meeting on Sept. 5.
Since 2003, the Greenbelt program has spent $23,184,601 on the purchase of conservation easements on privately owned land, as well as the outright purchase of natural areas that have been turned into publicly accessible parks and natural areas. In addition, the program has leveraged an additional $25,965,135 from federal grants and other funding partners. Surrounding townships alone have provided $5,564,917 in matching funds, primarily from townships with dedicated conservation millage funds. To date, the program has preserved over 5,491 acres of farms and natural areas within an 8-mile radius of Ann Arbor’s city center, including 50 working farms.