The Macomb Daily
Brandenburg Park purchase moves forward
Township to acquire property from DNR
Chesterfield Township is a step closer to officially getting full ownership of Brandenburg Park.
The Chesterfield Township Board of Trustees voted unanimously Jan. 24 to allow Supervisor Brad Kersten to move forward with the purchase of two parcels of land that make up Brandenburg Park from the Michigan Department of Natural Resources. The township has been leasing both parcels from the DNR at no cost for about 50 years.
“The anticipated cost of the two parcels is $100,000,” Kersten said. “The purchasing process has already begun. At this point we do not have a closing date but it is expected in the next coming months, and ownership will be immediate.”
The waterfront park on Jefferson Avenue was developed jointly between the DNR and Chesterfield Township in 1973. The township currently owns an 8.46-acre parcel located between the two state-owned properties. Officials said the only way to access the DNR property is via the Brandenburg Park entrance, which is located on the township’s parcel.
“The 1974 agreement, which dictated the control and operation of the park, was outdated and limited to how the space within the park could be utilized,” Kersten said.
“This purchase will allow us to make Brandenburg Park a destination, and allow us to make investments in something that is ours,” he added.
While leasing the two parcels, the township has been responsible for all maintenance, as the 1974 agreement did not provide for any funding from the DNR to help the township operate and maintain the
park, Kersten said. It costs the township $1 million per year to run the park.
“Chesterfield Township residents have had the sole financial obligation of operating the park in its entirety without input,” the supervisor said. “Having the autonomy to expand and grow the park will give Chesterfield the opportunity to enhance educational features (and) seek park improvements that will enhance the public use of the property.”
The township is in the process of applying for grants for site improvements to areas such as pavilions, playscapes, picnic areas and the pier. Other improvements are also underway.
“Chesterfield Township is currently expanding and improving our boat launch capabilities along with highlighting the park with the 2023 Bass Master Elite Fishing Tournament, which will attract nearly 1,500 visitors to the Anchor Bay community and to the park,” Kersten said.
While some residents have long called for the addition of a swimming area, a beach is not being considered at this time, Kersten said.
“It will always remain a park,” he noted.
In 2021, the park underwent a $1.5 million shoreline restoration project aimed at improving wildlife habitat and public access. The failing seawall was removed and the shoreline softened, with in-water and shoreline habitats created to allow for native species to flourish. The project was funded by a $1.3 million federal grant and a roughly $200,000 township match.
Other recent investments include the renovation of all sports courts, the installation of three pickleball courts and the interior remodel of the rentable building in front of the 500-foot fishing pier.
Officials began working on the acquisition in 2021. This past fall, the Michigan House of Representatives approved legislation that would authorize the DNR to transfer the stateowned property to Chesterfield Township. Introduced by then Rep. Pamela Hornberger, R-Chesterfield Township, the conveyance plan aims to transfer ownership of the property to the township to unify the park and streamline operations.
Michigan law allows state-owned property to be conveyed to an entity for public use if the property is deemed surplus by the state. The property may be transferred to an entity for less than market value so long as the property is used for public purposes.
“It’s an exciting time to invest in our parks,” Kersten said. “Studies have long shown the vast health benefits of outdoor recreation and we are proud to be placing the health and wellbeing of our residents and visitors at the forefront of our vision.”
The motion to proceed with the purchase of the parcels was made by Clerk Cindy Berry, supported by Trustee Brian Scott DeMuynck and unanimously approved by the board after a closed session at the Jan. 24 meeting.
Brandenburg Park is located at 50050 Jefferson Ave. in Chesterfield Township. For more information, call Chesterfield Township Leisure Services at 586949-0400, ext. 4, or go to parks.chesterfieldtwp.org