By Mike Kruzman /

Hamburg Township officials have applied for a grant that would allow them to purchase nearly 500 acres of golf course and natural property from the Henry Ford Health System.

Though there has been interest shown by the township and the health system to transfer ownership of the property in the past, after years of stagnation a deal appears to be on the table if a Michigan DNR Trust Fund grant can be acquired.

Hamburg Township Clerk Mike Dolan said in the purchase they would acquire the Rush Lake Hills Golf Club, Herndon Lake, and neighboring wooded and wetlands covering a total of roughly 494 acres. The land is bordered by Swarthout Road to the north, Pettysville Road to the east, Rush Lake Road to the south, and Chambers Road to the west.

Dolan told WHMI that if they receive the applied-for land acquisition grant, residents won’t have to worry about losing those natural resources. He said, “Here’s the beauty- if we purchase it with Trust Fund money, it is required by the Michigan Constitution that it remain recreational property in perpetuity. That’s one of the wonderful things about this. This beautiful, natural environment that’s out there would stay that way, and that would be our intent.”

Dolan said he’d like to see some hiking and biking trails put in and a public pier at Herndon Lake with accessibility for handicapped or disabled residents, but before they make any decisions, they would open it up to the residents for their input and interests.

Rush Lake Hill Golf Club would likely continue to be operated by the same management company, just now on the township’s books. Dolan said the same company runs Oceola Township’s golf course successfully and he’s been told Rush Lake has always been profitable.

Should everything go favorably, the transfer of ownership is still months out. Dolan said the Trust Fund board doesn’t make decisions on grant awards, whether they are project-based or for land acquisitions, until December. He said there is a potential that land acquisition funds will be decreased after this year with more money being dedicated to project-based grants, and so based off that, they feel this is their last best year to try this route. The grant they are asking for is roughly $3.6-million. The land is valued at around $4.8-million, but the way the application is laid out, the township’s 25% match would have to be donated from Henry Ford.