Michigan parks see major upgrades across the state after the expected passage of Tuesday’s landmark ballot proposal.
MICHIGAN—Proposal 1 has unofficially passed in Michigan by a landslide, with 76 of 83 counties reporting as of Wednesday afternoon.
The proposal is a constitutional amendment that supports making changes to how the state’s park-related funds can be spent, allowing for additional renovations on recreational facilities using grants, and requiring that at least 20% of the state’s endowments fund be spent on substantial improvements to its parks. The measure also removes the cap on the size of the natural resources trust fund.
As of 2:03 p.m., Michiganders had cast 2,890,556 votes, or 84.59%, in favor of the measure, with 526,739 votes, or 15.41%, against it.
The current cap on the trust fund, which is comprised of oil and gas royalties, is $500 million according to The Detroit News. The fund provides grants to local government allowing it to buy land for use by the public.
While the $500 million cap was reached in 2011, Michigan has been putting the excess royalties into its State Parks Endowment Fund, which provides money to buy and develop state parks.
The fund is now listed at $273 million, and may hit the maximum of $800 million far quicker than the nonpartisan Citizens Research Council of Michigan projected it would reach.
Spending rules for the funds would also be changed if the proposal passes as expected.
Improvements would be required from at least 20% of the state parks funds. Land conservation would be financed by at least 25% of the natural resources fund, while parks and public recreation areas would be financed by another 25% as well.