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      Millions in grants perk up area parks

      Hayes Twp. has purchased Camp Seagull in Charlevoix County to develop thanks to a grant.

      M illions of state dollars are being given to local government so they can preserve land for new park developments.

      T his week , Governor Rick Snyder approved a bill that distributes 23 million dollars in grants throughout the state.

      Nearly a dozen of the projects are being funded here in northern Michigan.

      " It's been a camp all since the 1920s on Lake Charlevoix , I think it's really nice for the community to continue with that tradition ," Camp Seagull Owner Bill Schulman said.

      F or many summers , C amp Seagull was considered home to a hundred girl campers. Log cabins, wooded trails, and a stretch of Lake Charlevoix beach made this the perfect summer getaway.

      W hen the owners decided to close the camp , leaders in Hayes Township decided to make a move to buy the property.

      " We want to preserve as many of the buildings as we possibly can and keep the rural character that it has ," Hayes Township Clerk Marlene Golovich explained.

      T he property came with a hefty price tag , so the township applied for state grant money. And just this week, their vision for a lakeside park became a reality.

      T hey received the largest state grant , 3.4 million dollars , to buy the land and develop it.

      " We are going to hold a series of public hearings to take input from the public to see what they want here features are important to them after all this is the townships park ," Golovich said.

      A cross the lake , W hiting Park, secured two hundred thousand dollars in grant money to buy a neighboring property.

      T his addition means new hiking paths , additional land to cross country ski , and a beautiful view of Lake Charlevoix.

      T his grant allowed the county to quickly purchase the land that would have otherwise been used for something else.

      " It would've probably been divided in developed, the views are incredible up there so we are protecting it for everybody ," Charlevoix County Parks Director Ross Maxwell noted.

      S oon everyone will be able to enjoy these parks , they are scheduled to be open this summer..