In November 2003, the residents of Ann Arbor voted overwhelmingly in favor of the Open Space and Parkland Preservation Millage, commonly referred to as the Greenbelt Millage. The Greenbelt Millage is a 30-year, 0.5 mil tax levy. A portion of the money is used to purchase new City parkland and a portion is used to protect agricultural and open space land outside of the City, within the Greenbelt District.
The purpose of the Greenbelt Program is to protect working farmland and natural areas, and to protect land along the Huron River. As of March 2017, the Greenbelt has expended funds to protect 44 working farms through the purchase of development rights and nine open space parks, in collaboration with Washtenaw County Natural Area Preservation Program. Collectively, these properties comprise over 5,060 acres protected using Greenbelt funds. The matching funds for the purchase of development rights on agricultural land have been in large part due to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Farm and Ranchland Protection Program.
Since 2005, the City has been awarded nearly $10 million in grants to offset the City’s costs for purchase of development rights on 25 farms. In addition to the City’s success at securing the grant dollars, there are a number of similar locally funded programs, that the City has partnered with in order to stretch the Ann Arbor tax-payers’ dollars.
See the section on Greenbelt Partners for additional information.The Greenbelt program is in its 17th year.