Kent County denied grant to assist buy 272-acre Cannonsburg ski hill, out of doors recreation space


GRAND RAPIDS, MI — Kent County’s bid to potentially buy the 272-acre Cannonsburg Recreation and Ski Area has stalled after the state rejected a $5 million grant application that would have helped fund the purchase .

“We are disappointed but remain committed to working with our board, the Kent County Parks Foundation, Cannon Township and the property owner to preserve the resort’s parks, trails, culture and other services,” Kent County officials said in a letter dated January 5 statement.

County officials say they will now work with the state to potentially revise the grant proposal to make it more competitive and will resubmit it in the 2023 grant process. Additionally, county officials say they will work with stakeholders to explore other sources of funding.

In March 2022, borough leaders approved a request for a $7.5 million grant from the Michigan Department of Natural Resources that would have been used to purchase the ski area at 6800 Cannonsburg Road NE in Cannonsburg Township.

Related: Kent County plans to purchase 272-acre Cannonsburg Ski Hill, an outdoor recreation area

Later, in September 2022, the county amended the grant application to $5 million to make it more competitive.

The county previously estimated the property’s value at $10 million, but cautioned that it was a working figure from an informal estimate. A formal appraisal to determine the market value of the property would be completed if the grant were approved.

Any funds required for the purchase in excess of the grant dollars would come from other county funding sources and from philanthropy, the county said.

Kent County Administrator Al Vanderberg said in March that while a purchase of the property was not certain, there was enough interest in the county to seek funding for the potential purchase. He said the intention is to turn the property into a public park and likely subcontract the operation of ski slopes.

District leaders declined to comment further on Thursday, January 12.

In the Jan. 5 statement, county officials said they learned on Dec. 14 that their grant application was not recommended for funding.

Cannonsburg Recreation and Ski Area officials previously said any sale of the property to either party would be conditional on the ski area remaining open.

The Cannonsburg Recreation and Ski Area is the only operating downhill ski facility in Kent County, according to the county. It has been open since 1965.

Cannonsburg Recreation and Ski Area has nine lifts and 21 runs ranging from beginner to advanced. The facility is used by school ski teams in the area and offers adaptive skiing, winter racing, snow hill tubing, winter biking and more. It also has a performance venue, hiking trails, summer concerts, and zip lines.

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