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  • Leelanau Enterprise

NCV aims to meet mid-summer fundraising goal

New partnerships established amid process

By Meakalia Previch-Liu on Wednesday, May 8, 2024

New Community Vision (NCV) is moving forward with its efforts this summer to acquire the former Timber Shores property, determined to reach its $3.6 million mid-summer goal from private donors.

The nonprofit has been working since last summer to purchase the property with a mission to ultimately preserve and restore the 214-acre lakeshore property of M-22 in Leelanau Township. NCVs initial goal was to raise $5 million by the end of 2023, but has secured an exclusive option agreement and extension since, giving the group more time to raise funds through the summer.

According to NCVs latest update, the group has also established a strategic partnership with the Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians (GTB), and will pursue a collaborative application for a significant federal grant with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). Part of the grant will help NCV to reach the purchase price to acquire the entire Timber Shores property. The NOAA application was submitted last November, and NCV hopes to hear positive news by early July regarding any grant award from the federal agency. The grant could potentially fund up to half of acquisition costs, and would include “substantial funding allocated to robust on-the-ground restoration activities to restore the wetlands, woodlands, Ennis Creek and lakeshore.”

“GTB will lead the restoration work and stewardship of the future nature preserve, which as noted in our update document, is historically deeply important to them,” said NCV board vice-president Beth Verhey. “In addition, a promising element of the grant application is focused on inclusive community engagement in planning the restoration and future of this extraordinary natural asset as a nature preserve all can enjoy, and on education outreach, especially with local youth organizations, to allow community members to develop a deeper understanding of Anishinaabek cultural connectivity to the site and broaden awareness of habitat restoration and threats to Great Lakes fishery.”

“We are particularly grateful for our close partnership with the Grand Traverse Band,” said John Sentell, NCV president, in a recent statement. “Their expertise and leadership in the stewardship of natural habitats throughout our region reinforces the importance of preserving this special lakeshore property. This close partnership is key to not only preserving and restoring the property, but connecting all people in the community to this remarkable natural asset again.”

NCV has also recently established a collaboration with another local nonprofit, Peninsula Housing, to help solve housing challenges in Leelanau. Peninsula Housing is a nonprofit community land trust committed to providing affordable housing in Suttons Bay and Leelanau County. The two groups will work closely to develop attainable housing on a 24-acre parcel of land on the former Timber Shores property.

“Both Leelanau nonprofits are committed to providing more affordable homes for residents who live and work in the County, and have agreed to work collaboratively on planning, preliminary design, public outreach and fundraising for attainable housing,” the NCV update stated.

This summer, NCV will continue working on its community outreach efforts, too, and plans to expand community engagement throughout the summer. NCV will host group tours/ walks on the property starting in June and anticipate a number of community gatherings and fireside chats in area homes to continue to build momentum and support for their efforts.

While awaiting for an update on the NOAA federal grant, NCV received grant funding from other local organizations to support its mission of preserving and restoring the land. The Leelanau Township Community Foundation and Rotary Charities recently awarded the group grants to help fund an initial concept plan and community outreach for attainable housing, and the Grand Traverse Regional Community Foundation awarded the group a Land Use and Conservation grant last year.

The article is published here. Thanks to the Leelanau Enterprise for allowing us to share this coverage with you.

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