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Grand Traverse County to purchase 200-acre former scout camp for public park

TRAVERSE CITY, MICH. — A historic scout camp in Northern Michigan may soon begin a new chapter as a public outdoor recreation space.

Grand Traverse County has made an offer to the Grand Traverse Regional Land Conservancy to purchase the former Camp Greilick property, officials announced this week. The offer is awaiting approval from the Grand Traverse Regional Land Conservancy board.

Camp Greilick dates back to 1923, when the Rotary Club of Traverse City purchased land to create a campground for 4-H, the Boy Scouts and the Girl Scouts. Most recently known as the Greilick Outdoor Recreation and Education Center, the 196-acre property features more than 4,000 feet of frontage on Rennie, Spider and Bass Lakes just south of Traverse City.

When the property was listed for $3.25 million late last year by Rotary Camps & Services, county officials had been in talks with the owners for months about their interest in purchasing the land, The Ticker reported in February.

When a competing offer was made, the non-profit Grand Traverse Regional Land Conservancy purchased the property with the help of an anonymous donor, and has been holding it for the County to allow time for inspections and environmental testing.

“We have been supportive of Grand Traverse County’s vision to purchase the property, to open it to the public and especially to renew its use as a place for young people and families to experience and learn about our natural world,” conservancy officials said in a statement.

Upon acceptance of the offer, the County plans to solicit community feedback on the best uses of the property “in keeping with the area’s recreation potential and conservation goals,” organizers said in a statement.

“Based on the historic use and recreation potential, Grand Traverse County Parks and Recreation envisions many uses for this beautiful property,” the statement said. “While the ultimate plans are not complete and will include significant public input, the County sees securing the property as an important step to put the former Camp Greilick property in public ownership to ensure continued access to recreation in the community for years to come.”

The County has offered $100,000 in earnest money up front for purchase of the property with a purchase price of $3 million, and anticipates closing by September.

The first public input session for the property is scheduled for 7 p.m. on Tuesday, May 21 at the Grand Traverse Regional Land Conservancy’s Conservation Center at 2846 3 Mile Road North, Traverse City.

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