Ann Arbor is loosening its green belt to let in a little more farmland now that the city's Greenbelt Program has secured its sixth purchase. That brings the total acreage protected by the greenbelt to just more than 700 acres.
The program purchased the development rights to John and Beverly Alexander's 70-acre farm in Northfield Township. The city spent $1.015 million on the purchase, utilizing a $335,000 federal grant from the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture's Federal Farm and Ranchlands Protection Program to partially subsidize the transaction.
City officials call the Alexander farm a "critical purchase" in forming a block of protected land across the northern portion of the Greenbelt that stretches from Webster Township to Salem Township. The farm is strong and fully functional, according to city officials. They add that the purchase of the development rights will help it stay that way for the foreseeable future by taking it out of reach of developers looking to extend suburban sprawl.
"Saving land like this is what the Greenbelt program is all about," says Laura Rubin, chair of Greenbelt Advisory Commission.
Ann Arbor voters approved a 0.5-mill millage over 30 years to establish the Greenbelt Program in 2003. The program provides funding to preserve and protect open space, natural habitats, and farms in the Ann Arbor area. The city will acquire land rights from willing sellers who apply to participate in the program.
Source: City of Ann Arbor
Writer Jon Zemke