Old shopping center becomes green space - WNEM TV 5

Old shopping center becomes green space

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BUENA VISTA TOWNSHIP, MI (WNEM) -

Many in Buena Vista Township hope to bring the green to downtown will encourage visitors and investments.

The first scoop of dirt has been shoveled and the Town Green Project has officially begun.

"I think it's a great asset to the township," said Wayne Squanda, resident.

He is talking about a new green space in his community. It's called Buena Vista Charter Township Town Green.

A ribbon cutting ceremony was held on July 27 and the four and a half acre area is now open for the public.

"I think it's great that the board has been able to get grants to do this to clean up the old K-Mart and to start developing it," Squanda said.

The land used to be a Brownfield home to the defunct Fort Saginaw Shopping Center. Now it's a place that's giving residents hope.

Almost five years of planning went into the project.

Jim Graham, chairman of the township's Downtown Business Authority, believes it was time and money well spent.

"This improves our effort to bring in new businesses and as we talked to developers, this is just a plus," Graham said.

Meanwhile, township supervisor Dwayne Parker said the opening of the green space marks the beginning of a new chapter in Buena Vista's history.

"It's a new day and it's a new time and it's a new period and this is something that we think is going to attract that new economic boon," Parker said.

The green space is lined with trees, walking paths, picnic tables and benches. However, Parker said the area isn't a park.

"A park connotes some different types of activity. From reunions to picnicking to a host of other things. Leasing, renting the space out and occupying the space, that's not the purpose of it," Parker said.

The purpose is to draw new commercial and retail businesses to the area, something Squanda is optimistic for.

"Hopefully it's a good place all the way around for all of Michigan," he said.

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