CANNON TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WOOD) — The State of Michigan has rejected a grant request that would help Kent County buy land surrounding the Cannonsburg ski hill.
In 2022, Kent County applied for a $5 million grant through the Michigan Department of Natural Resources Fund to facilitate the purchase of the Cannonsburg Recreation and Ski Area in Cannon Township. Months later, the request was denied.
“The first time we did apply for the entire property, all 262 acres. That grant application didn’t really fit with the motif of the grant program,” said Ben Swayze, Kent County Parks and Recreation director.
“The ski area itself would’ve stayed with the Cannonsburg ownership, but the county would’ve taken ownership of the natural areas surrounding the ski resort,” Swayze said.
He said there’s no indication that Cannonsburg would entirely become a development if the county doesn’t buy the land, but he adds that the county has an interest in preserving the green space at the property.
“It’s unique, right? So, there’s no other ski area that I would say is within driving distance but it’s beyond the ski area as well. The natural areas have a well-integrated system of natural surface trails that connect with the natural surface trails in the Cannonsburg State Game Area,” Swayze said.
Kent County Board of Commissioners Chair Stan Stek said the grant denial is disappointing but open conversations about a potential partnership with Cannonsburg will continue.
“It’s probably going to be a balancing of the respective interests that meets the needs of the owner, that meets the needs of the public, that meets the needs of the county, and we’re not pre-disposed to determine what that should look like,” Stek said.
Stek said he is reasonably confident that something will get done, whether the county is the main partner or not.
“Cannonsburg has been part of this community for more than 50 years. I think this community supports it, wants to see it here, I think the owners want to see it here and in that environment I expect we’ll find a solution,” Stek said.
Swayze said the county does not plan on re-applying for the grant this year.
A representative with Cannonsburg Recreation and Ski Area also said it has not received an offer from the county to purchase the property. Cannonsburg told News 8 in 2022 that it was not in financial trouble.