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  • New Community Vision


This weekend’s Livingston Taylor Benefit Concert in support of New Community Vision (NCV) was a sell-out success as the Leelanau community gave a ‘thumbs up’ to the project. The renowned singer/songwriter thrilled a crowd of over 300 people on Sunday, August 13th at the Ridge at Verterra winery. The event was sponsored by local homeowners Francie Downing and Melissa von Stade in memory of their sister, Carol von Stade, who spent many happy decades enjoying the tranquil beauty of Leelanau County.

Taylor’s appearance was also a chance for NCV’s president John Sentell to address a large gathering of supporters. “It was a festive night of music at a breathtaking venue,” said Sentell. “The stunning vistas of West Bay were an inspiring backdrop to speak about our important project and have so many people show their support.” NCV is delighted with the positive reaction to efforts to acquire the former Timber Shores property in order to conserve the majority of the prominent 200-plus acre property bordering M-22 between Northport and Omena. Sentell noted: “We’ve received broad-based support for this volunteer effort to acquire and preserve this iconic property.”

Sentell expressed optimism about NCV’s progress so far. “This is an ambitious philanthropic goal and we are asking those people who love Leelanau as much as we do to step up as individuals or through family foundations to financially support a new vision for this legacy property. The window of opportunity is now.”

Sentell highlighted the next steps as securing $5 million in pledges by October 1, 2023 which will enable the project to advance to the next phase and qualify for matching grant opportunities and pursue additional funding sources that support the hybrid model which balances conservationand sustainable development in line with community priorities. “Based on successful land trust models elsewhere, NCV is reaching out for support at all levels. Every pledge is needed for success!” said Sentell. NCV is a new non-profit established to acquire the former Timber Shores property in order to preserve the majority of the 200-plus acres -- including 1,800 feet of valued lakeshore -- as a public nature preserve for the community while utilizing upland sections to address some of the housing issues faced in the Township. The organization is raising funds to secure outright ownership and pursue a new vision. After finalizing the purchase of the property, a process of community engagement will also help to re-imagine an optimal mix of use to benefit the community.

The majority of the property is prime for conservation and environmental stewardship. The 1,800 feet of shoreline hosts critical native fishery habitat along with acres of important wetlands, streams, and woodlands that are home to indigenous plants, birds, and wildlife. Some upland sections hold potential for critically-needed workforce housing or other appropriately-sized uses that align with community priorities. Protecting open vistas along M-22 is also important. NCV was was founded to re-think how this property can best benefit both current and future generations. Investing in new thinking to support the long-term stewardship of this legacy lakefront property will benefit our community in the very best ways.

NCV is a registered 501(c)3 charity, and as such, donations to support NCV’s new approach are tax deductible and will be used to purchase the property and support professional land planning with community involvement. The group has an option to purchase the land from the current owner, NM Investment Co., LLC, and RVTS Investment, LLC.

Livingstone Taylor’s concert was a public, ticketed event that sold over 300 tickets. The popular performer played a set that delighted the audience and included some of his greatest hits including ‘Carolina Day’ and ‘Get Out of Bed’. Livingston’s creative output has spanned a 50-year career of performance, song writing, and teaching. He said he was thrilled to be performing on the Leelanau Peninsula and wished the project good luck.

For more information contact:

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Note to editors: NCV Board of Directors: All NCV board members own property and live and work part- or full-time in Leelanau County: John Sentell, Board President (former president & CEO, Lake Forest Open Lands Association) Beth Verhey, Board Vice President (former Chief of Social Policy, UNICEF) Dale Lersch, Board Treasurer (former CEO acturus, research consultancy acquired by MetrixLab) Kate Bulkley, Board Secretary (Media Consultant) Andy Thomas, Board Director (Founder, Thomas & Milliken Millwork, Inc.)

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