How will Boyne City pay for 475 North Lake St. Open Space?

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Would you support a new millage to help pay for the Open Space parkland on Lake Charlevoix in Boyne City?

Residents of Boyne City are invited to attend a meeting on April 18 to discuss options for purchasing the approximate 4.5 acre lakeshore site, known as the “Open Space,” located at 475 North Lake St. across the street from the Family Fare Shopping Plaza.


City Commissioners and staff will be at the Open Space, weather permitting between 6:30 to 6:50 p.m. and then move to the temporary City Hall for the April 18 work session with public discussion starting at 7 p.m.

“The community is strongly encouraged to attend and share their thoughts,” said Mayor Tom Neidhamer. “The purchase of this beautiful waterfront property is a tremendous opportunity for Boyne City today and for generations to come. We want and need the community’s input to make this a reality.”

The Boyne City City Commission at its all-day budget work session on March 21 discussed options to acquire the Lake Charlevoix waterfront property.

The property was acquired almost two years ago by local residents Bob Grove and Mike Dow with the desire to create a permanent public open space where people could enjoy the property and its views of Lake Charlevoix. The City is currently using the property under a lease with an option to buy that runs through December of this year.

The anticipated sale price to the City is $3.2 million, which is less than Grove and Dow have invested in the property. Additional fees such as a title search, appraisal, and closing costs will bring the price to just shy of $3.3 million. Since the 2015 lease agreement, the City has been applying for grants and exploring ways to raise funds to purchase the open space property.

A significant contribution for purchasing the property came last December when the City was awarded a Department of Natural Resources Trust Fund (MNRTF) Grant that will pay 74% of the property’s appraised value.

As required by the MNRTF grant requirements, the City must contract with a State-approved appraiser to evaluate the land’s worth.

“In a best-case scenario, the appraisal will show a value equivalent to the agreed upon purchase price, leaving the City to match the MNRTF at 26%,” said Boyne City City Manager Michael Cain. “However, if the appraisal comes in lower than the purchase price it will create a more significant gap between the grant amount and the City’s contribution.”

City staff has estimated the gap could range anywhere between $860,000 and $1.8 million. Cain said the city will be able to provide a more exact number as the project continues through the grant process.

Noting the many comments received from Boyne City residents over the years expressing their desire for the City to acquire more lakefront property when possible, it was the consensus of the City Commission to begin discussions with the public about all of the funding options and a possible millage election to complete the property purchase. Preliminary discussions involve holding an election this fall at the November City election.

Details regarding the specifics of the possible millage request will be worked out over the next few months after discussions with the public. The City has until August 15th to submit specific ballot language and amounts for the November ballot.

If you have questions or comments regarding the open space property or the April 18 meeting, contact City Clerk/Treasurer Cindy Grice at 582-0334 or email