Crawford County Board of Commissioners OKs sale of property to owners of local lodge
Dan Sanderson | Staff Writer
Local municipal organizations will see a slight increase in their coffers from the recent sale of property, which has not been on the tax rolls since the Great Depression.
The Crawford County Board of Commissioners agreed to sell a 17-acre parcel of land to Churchill’s North Country Lodge at its meeting held on Thursday, Aug. 24.
The property is located near the Clough subdivision in Grayling Charter Township. The price paid for the property was $25,250.
The property went into tax foreclosure in 1932. For several years, the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) Grayling headquarters were located on the land. The county received the 17 acres of property and surrounding land went to Grayling Charter Township and the City of Grayling when the DNR moved its offices out to Hartwick Pines Road near the exit to I-75 in 1981.
Before the addition was placed on the front of the Crawford County Courthouse in 2009 to make it Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) compliant, county officials considered a proposal to sell its land on the AuSable River for commercial and housing development. The county had looked at relocating the Crawford County Courthouse and jail to the 17-acre parcel, but that option was deemed unfeasible.
The county also eyed it as a potential space for the Crawford County Commission on Aging and Senior Center.
After the owners of Churchill’s North Country Lodge expressed interest in the property for use as a recreational area for guests, the county board agreed to put the land on the market through sealed bids.
The lodge was the only party that submitted a bid for the property after two attempts by the county to sell the land.
Future plans for the property would be subject to planning and zoning regulations from Grayling Charter Township. The Michigan Department of Quality may also have a say on what happens with the property since there are some wetland areas on the land.
“It means a lot to us and for our guests to be able to go out there and walk and enjoy that property,” said Garwin Churchill, co-owner of Churchill’s North Country Lodge.
Bids for the property were reviewed by Crawford County Administrator Paul Compo, Crawford County Treasurer Joe Wakeley and County Commissioner Laurie Jamison, the owner and a broker from Northern Michigan Real Estate Brokers, LLC.
Instead of going into the county’s general fund, funds from sale of the property will go to all taxing agencies that were in existence in 1932.
“In theory, proceeds from the sale of the property will be split between that taxing agencies as if the property had been taxed all along over the years,” Wakeley said.