“Save the Ferrysburg Nature Preserve” group opposes housing development

Posted at 4:20 PM, Oct 21, 2016
and last updated 2016-10-21 22:18:28-04

FERRYSBURG, Mich. - "Save the Ferrysburg Nature Preserve," that's the slogan for a campaign pushing back against the city council's decision to bulldoze the area and build a housing development instead.

Dan Ruiner, Mayor for the city of Ferrysburg, said members of the city council proposed the idea to help with city expenses.

"We take pride in being solvent and not in the red, this is just one way that makes sure that can happen," said Mayor Ruiner.

The dunes were originally gifted as a nature preserve by Spring Lake Township. Monday, city council members discussed possibly selling the land to housing developers, but a group has since formed in opposition, fighting to keep the preserve intact.

The nature preserve is actually designated as a park in the city's code and recreational plan, but the city's master plan shows it as residential housing. Mayor Ruiner says it would help bring in tax revenue but neighbors say they're not letting it happen without a fight.

"I want the citizens of Ferrysburg to realize what's going on," said Heather Hawley, who heard the news through a letter mailed three days before the city council held a public meeting to solicit proposals for the development.

"I mean if we wouldn’t have gotten this letter, it could have been voted on at council and passed, and we wouldn’t have even known until bulldozers were out here."

Hawley has since made a Facebook page called Save the Ferrysburg Nature Preserve.

"I feel like it’s a lot of special interest for the council members on the board, not special interest for the city," said Hawley.

The mayor has invited anyone with comments or questions to attend city council meetings held on the first and third Monday of each month.