ACME -- Grand Traverse County officials will step in to stem erosion problems at the stalled LochenHeath golf and residential development.

Drain Commissioner Kevin McElyea said Friday his office awarded a $50,000 contract to stabilize and seed more than 50 acres of barren land at LochenHeath, an area that's generated complaints from neighbors about soil run-off and wind erosion.

Work at the Acme Township development ceased in late February when project developers halted operations and laid off about 30 employees at The Club at LochenHeath. Developers cited failure to secure additional refinancing for the 600-acre-plus project.

McElyea issued a violation notice under state soil erosion laws on April 17. Project developers failed to reply with a remediation plan, so the county tapped some of an $80,000 line of credit from LochenHeath owners to pay for the work.

"If we stabilize about 50 to 60 acres, we can get it fixed," McElyea said.

North Slope Inc. of Acme submitted the low bid for work that's expected to begin next week, McElyea said. The county still has roughly $30,000 in escrowed funds to pay for additional stabilization work, if needed.

"We will continue to monitor it," McElyea said. "We may have to come back in the summer for some fertilization and touch-up work."

The development includes an 18-hole golf course and plans for about 500 residential units, although only about a dozen homes have been built so far. The erosion problems are on land cleared for more housing, McElyea said.

LochenHeath is owned by Pinnacle Development Group of Scottsdale, Ariz., which took over the project in 2004. Pinnacle officials said they hoped to secure additional financing and resume work at the property by this summer.

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