On March 30, 2009, the City of Novi completed the acquisition of the 54 acres (originally 51 acres) of parkland.
On December 6, 2005, the Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund (MNRTF) Board of Trustees recommended to Governor Jennifer M. Granholm that 52 recreation projects and land acquisitions totaling $37,315,500 be funded for 2006. The board had considered 160 applications for projects and acquisitions totaling $76 million, which were competitively evaluated based on scoring criteria approved by the board.
Village Wood Lake/Orchard Hills West Acquisition. The board recommended $846,338 for Novi to acquire 51 acres containing 5,200 feet of frontage on the Rouge River and wetlands in Oakland County.
In 2005, the City of Novi approved the development of homes on 14.7 acres of land on the east side of Meadowbrook Road between 9 and 10 Mile Roads. This property was one of the largest parcels of residentially zoned vacant land remaining in southeast Novi. This land also included regulated woodlands, wetlands, a portion of Ingersol Creek and a portion of Villagewood Lake, where area residents fished, and provided a refuge for wildlife. Residents who wanted to see this property preserved and protected as green space asked the Novi City Council to make every effort to acquire this property. The developer, Mr. Roskelly, was willing to sell the property to the City. Over 350 residents signed a petition in support of preserving this land.
Novi residents organized an effort to request the City to submit a grant application with the Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund (MNRTF) to fund the acquisition of this property. The MNRTF pays up to 75% of the total cost to acquire property. Grant applications to the MNRTF have to be supported by a community's recreation plan and be approved by the governing body, which in Novi is the City Council. Grant applications were due to the Department of Natural Resources by August 1, 2005 in order to be considered for funding in the 2005 funding period. Novi residents were able to convince the City Council to allow the City staff to draft a grant application to the MNRTF to acquire the Roskelly property.
As part of the effort to support the grant application, a local developer, Mirage Development agreed to donate 36.15 acres of land that they owned on the west side of Meadowbrook Road, opposite the Roskelly property, to help cover a portion of Novi's required local match amount, which is 25% of the total cost of the grant. Environmental reviews of the Mirage property revealed that it is the highest quality natural area remaining in southeast Novi. It includes a free-flowing, unaltered portion of the Walled Lake Branch of the Middle Rouge River as well as regulated woodlands and wetlands. Oakland County identified the property as a priority natural area from a County-wide perspective. Also, a botanical review of the property rated that property as being significant from a statewide perspective due to the diversity and quality of species found on the site.
The City's grant application to the MNRTF proposed the acquisition of these two properties to create a single 51 acre park. The proposal also included future plans for the park including public fishing access at Villagewood Lake, a proposal supported by the DNR's Fisheries Division. The park would also support wildlife habitat observation points and environmental education opportunities for the two elementary schools that are located within 1/4 of a mile of the park properties.
The grant application to the MNRTF was submitted on July 29th, 2005.
Read more background details on the Information page.
Trail through woodlands on Mirage property
Map of Park Properties
Video presentation made by the Friends of Novi Parks to the Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund Board in October 2005 in support of the grant proposal.