It is with great disappointment that the Township learned that donor Jim Schmidt withdrew his generous land donation for the proposed Schmidt Heritage Park.
The Township and Mr. Schmidt had been in discussions since August of 2017 to finalize a land donation agreement for a 74-acre parcel located on Ferris Street across from Hofma Park. Part of this process involved completing an environmental assessment, land surveys and descriptions, legal work, and developing a detailed plan and cost estimate of the proposed park.
Unfortunately, some residents of a nearby subdivision did not agree with the development of the proposed complex of jogging trails and sports fields. Further, there were legitimate financial questions raised by elected officials related to both the capital expenditures and future maintenance.
Mr. Schmidt believed that there was too much “negativity” and opposition to the proposed land gift and decided to withdraw the land donation.
Township Manager Cargo noted, “Most municipal projects encounter opposition from individuals or groups that have differing priorities or a well-intentioned desire to be fiscally responsible. However, in the face of this opposition, Mr. Schmidt was not convinced the Township would be able to develop the park in a manner that he would find satisfactory,” Cargo explained.
“That said, I respect Mr. Schmidt’s decision to withdraw his proposed land donation and, to a certain extent, understand his frustrations,” Cargo said.
“I continue to believe that the initial land donation was very generous, that the proposed complex of sports fields would have been a great addition to the Township’s parks system, that the park would be an exemplary memorial to the Schmidt family, and that both current and future elected officials would have been able to fund the park through General Fund tax monies, gifts and grants,” Cargo explained.
“If there is any opportunity to revive the project at some future point, I am hopeful the Township and Mr. Schmidt can work together,” Cargo concluded.
Supervisor Reenders will remain in contact and continue discussions with Mr. Schmidt.