Company gives prime real estate for a park

Vanessa Dietz/Daily Mining Gazette Ontonagon County Economic Development Corp. Member Alan Ralph and Ontonagon Downtown Development Authority President Dan Sullivan stand in front of a public lakeshore park the volunteers were instrumental in establishing.

ONTONAGON — A new lakeshore park near downtown Ontonagon will be established this summer.

Lake Shore Systems has signed an agreement to lease 4.5 acres of lakefront property to Ontonagon Village for a public park.

“The Lake Shore Land Lease is finalized thanks to a lot of communication with Dan Bruso and Jessica (Frost),” said Village President Ken Waldrop, naming two Lake Shore officials who worked out the kinks in the contract with village representatives. “During a very busy time for Lake Shore, at the end of a long, exhausting day for them, they pushed forward and made sure that the lease was finalized, ensuring that we can get going on some of the logistics involved in the fence relocation, tree trimming and cleanup. Alan Ralph was the point man and provided the consistency and communication needed to bring us to this point.”

The seven-year lease will cost the village $1 annually, according to retiring Village Attorney Ted Baird, who worked with the company to nail out the final agreement approved at Monday’s council meeting. After the initial seven years, the lease will be renewed annually. Lake Shore will continue to pay the property taxes on the lot.

Even though the village is only leasing the property, company officials can’t conceive of a future need to use the land its leasing, Baird said.

“The intention is to essentially make it permanent,” said Ontonagon County Economic Development Corp. Member Alan Ralph, about the lease he and Ontonagon Downtown Development Authority President Dan Sullivan had worked on for months behind the scenes.

“They’ve been really great to work with,” Ralph said of the negotiations with Lake Shore.

“Now it’s time to make it happen, and I am very excited as I am sure many of the folks from our area are as well,” Waldrop said. “Signage has been selected and a matching grant has been approved so watch for change coming soon.”

The DDA has a $5,000 grant that requires $5,000 in matching funds to create signage for the park.

Future grants will have to be sought to further develop the park.