Genesee Parks Commission considering selling off land

GENESEE COUNTY — Genesee County has the largest county parks system in Michigan — so large, in fact, that county commissioners don’t even know how much land the county owns.

A Flint Journal article dated Sept. 22 states that the commissioners are “compiling a list of all the properties” for purposes of deciding whether they should sell off “extra parcels” not currently being used as park land. But not knowing how much land one owns, how does one figure out what constitutes “extra?”

“Our next step is to verify all our holdings so we have a clear, accurate and current picture of what we’ve got,” said Director Amy McMillan told the Journal. Board of Commissioners Chairman Richard E. Hammel told the Journal, “It’s obvious to me we have way more than we can [take care of]….Maybe we are stretched way too thin.”

It’s good that the commissioners are considering both selling off some parcels and allowing municipalities to take others over. In 2000, they raised more than $1 million by selling parcels ranging from less than an acre to 20 acres in Genesee and Richfield townships.

But in the meantime, why not do what the state of Michigan does every two years: conduct an audit of how much land it owns where, so that at the very least, government officials know the full extent of opportunities for land privatization?