On Monday, September 18th, 2023, Isabella County Parks finalized a property purchase of four acres to be included in the footprint of Meridian Park. The additional acreage will greatly improve maintenance and emergency access to a 24-acre section in the northeast portion of the park along the Chippewa River. The purchased property includes an area previously utilized for access via temporary right-of-way easement agreement between the previous owners, William and Nancy Whitehead, and Isabella County.
The relatively open parcel, currently covered in wild grasses and bordered by hardwoods and pines, contains habitat for deer, small mammals, nesting birds and pollinators. A more complete biological survey, and exploration of further recreational use options for the meadow are planned for the future. A trail will be built through the parcel to create better emergency and maintenance access to the north end of the park, and to improve access to the walking path in that area for hikers of all ability levels.
“The enhanced access created by these four acres is a major improvement to the functionality of the park, and we are happy to have a few more acres of public green space in Isabella County as well,” said Parks & Recreation Director Alexis Hansen of the purchase. “This purchase was two years or more in the making, and the history of the right-of-way easement goes back many, many years. It’s good to have this finalized and to start planning for the future of the park now,” said Hansen. Isabella County Parks Staff have worked diligently with Michigan Department of Natural Resources grant managers since 2021 to work through the process of acquiring land with Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund support.
The purchase was funded in part by grant monies distributed by the Michigan Department of Natural Resources (DNR) with funds from the Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund (MNRTF). An MNRTF plaque presentation and ribbon cutting will be held at Meridian Park in celebration of the new section on Thursday, October 26th at 1:00 PM. Members of the public are invited to attend, explore the new section of the park, and enjoy refreshments.
If you have any questions regarding the ribbon cutting, please contact the Isabella County Parks Main Office at (989) 317-4083.
1 Image Attached – (1) Meridian Park New Boundary Map