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Sale of Lansing’s Waverly Golf course to be on August ballot

Voters in August will decide the fate of a closed westside golf course, a proposal blocked three previous times by the Lansing City Council.

Council members Monday voted 6-1 to put the sale of the former Waverly Golf Course and adjacent Michigan Avenue Park on the August ballot. At-large Councilwoman Carol Wood opposed the proposal, and 4th Ward Councilwoman Jessica Yorko was absent.

The combined 120-acre property is city-owned but located in Lansing Township. This was the fourth time the issue had come before the council. It previously failed to generate enough support to make it to voters.

This time was different. Council President Brian Jeffries, once an opponent to the proposal, voted in favor in part because he said he made a commitment to Mayor Virg Bernero to improve trust and communication.

Much of the discussion Monday centered around the Michigan Avenue parcel. The smaller of the two properties, the park has a sledding hill often used in the winter. Some council members want to preserve that piece as city property to allow families to use it.

Randy Hannan, Bernero’s executive assistant, said the council should be flexible with the property so the type of responses aren’t limited.

A developer, for instance, might decide to create an outdoor winter sports park and want to incorporate the sledding hill, he said.

“We’re willing to partner with you and work together on what makes sense,” he said.

Should voters approve the sale in August, a request for proposals will be issued to developers.

The Waverly course hasn’t had a development plan, unlike the eastside Red Cedar Golf Course, 12 acres of which voters overwhelmingly opted to sell in November.

Wood said she wants to see how Red Cedar will be developed before she could feel comfortable approving the sale of more parkland.

Hannan said the Red Cedar request should be issued this spring.

Also Monday, the council voted 7-0, with Yorko absent, to sell a 1.4-acre parcel of Oak Park, containing a vacant building and parking lot, to Neogen Corp. That also will appear on the August ballot because the property is on dedicated park land.

City administrators have not yet released the appraisal amount.

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