A local golf course more than 108 years old will return to its natural state following a purchase by the Blandford Nature Center.

The Highlands Golf Club, located on Grand Rapids' West Side adjacent to the nature center, sits on 121 acres of land. It was bought by the Blandford Nature Center with the Land Conservancy of West Michigan to be "preserved and protected for the people of Grand Rapids forever," according to a news release.

Earlier: Grand Rapids West Side golf course being sold

A $3 million loan will help to purchase the property, the release states. Third Coast Development obtained an option to purchase the club in July 2016 and initially intended to develop homes on the land.

Now, they'll help to support the project.

"Once we started talking to Blandford about the future of the property, we realized that sometimes development needs to take a back seat to an idea that benefits our entire community," said Brad Rosely of Third Coast in the release.

Phase one of the project already is underway, which includes the land purchase, biodiversity studies and creating plans for public access. The new owners later expect to announce habit restoration, trail and other public projects.