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Wednesday, March 13,2013

Pastures of plenty

A Mason farmer mows and harvests the long grass at Waverly Golf Course, resulting in happy people and happy cows

by Sam Inglot
Sam Inglot/City Pulse
Friday, June 22 — The city hasn’t tended to the grassy, overgrown 115 acres of Waverly Golf Course in a while, but recently, a Mason beef farmer has taken over the job to use the grass as cattle feed.

“These cows of mine have a bad habit of eating every day,” joked Maynard Beery. “I haven’t trained them to eat every other day just yet.”

Beery approached the city and offered to cut the grass because the dry weather has made grazing land for his 90 all-grass-fed cattle sparse. He started cutting and bailing the grass on May 1 after working it out with the city. The golf course closed in 2007 due to budget constraints.

“It’s been a real learning experience,” Beery said. “Every time I go over, there is a new resident telling me, ‘Oh boy, this looks good.’ It’s amazing how many people use the property.”

With the once hip-high grass cut, Beery said he’s seen and heard about more people using the park-like space. It’s like a “wilderness in a concrete jungle,” he said. '

People are happy because they have a renewed green-area to use and the cows are happy because they have feed, Beery said.

“My cows are very appreciative to the city of Lansing,” he said laughing.

The situation was a “win-win” for the city, said Chad Gamble, director of the city’s Public Service Department. Gamble echoed the fact that people in the area are pleased to see the grass finally being managed. He added that the deal saves the city a sizeable chunk of money.

The city is required by ordinance to mow the grass along the perimeter of the fence, Gamble said. The cost to do so is about $4,000 each time. The total cost per year to mow the park, he said, could be anywhere from $16,000 to $25,000.

The property could be up for sale after the August elections. Waverly Golf Course and the adjacent Michigan Avenue Park could be opened up for future development if voters approve a measure passed by the City Council in January to sell the properties, Gamble said.'
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