June 12 2017 12:32 AM

DNR to investigate parks master plan irregularities

June 12 — The Michigan Department of Natural Resources will investigate irregularities in the city of Lansing’s master plan for parks related to Ormond Park, a state spokesman said today.


The Bernero administration’s budget for the new fiscal year, which begins July 1, includes $358,000 to build a road through the 8-acre park as a new entrance to Groesbeck Golf Course. The state probe was prompted by the discovery by City Pulse that the City Council may not have known it was approving the road proposal as part of the parks master plan.


When such an omission or discrepancy is discovered or brought to our attention, such as in this case, we contact the municipality to investigate,” wrote Steve DeBrabander, manager of our Grants Management Section of the DNR’s Finance and Operations Division, in an email today.


He added that no state funds are involved.


It appears the road proposal was inserted into the parks master plan only at the last minute and distributed in a hard copy to the Council as it prepared for a public hearing on the master plan. Council members were not told of the change.


Tonight, the body will take up a resolution calling for an investigation of the matter. That resolution was introduced by 1st Ward Councilwoman Jody Washington, 3rd Ward Councilman Adam Hussain and At-Large Councilwoman Carol Wood. Council President Patricia Spitzley has said she will support the resolution.


The City Council purchased property along Grand River Avenue in 1989 for the road.


The road plan has been brought up twice before, but neighborhood opposition kept it from being approved by the Council. It resurfaced last month as part of an administration proposal for the Lansing Entertainment and Public Facilities Authority to take over Groesbeck Golf Course. The Council removed the proposal from the budget, but Mayor Virg Bernero vetoed that action, and the Council failed to overcome the veto. The administration’s goal to complete the road by fall.