More than three years ago, a project that would have opened a large swath of green space to the Longview community was derailed by a different kind of green.

But a new approach led by private developers aims to open up the 92-acre Lake Lomond area — brimming with wildlife and natural beauty — to the public and transform it into a retail hub.

And that’s great news for Longview.

In summer of 2018, Gene McWhorter and his siblings — whose family developed Lake Lomond — were in discussions with the city to donate the lake and the surrounding property to eventually become part of Longview’s park system.

But the costs associated with such a project were too great, and the city also would not agree to the McWhorter family’s condition that the property be developed within a certain time period.

As Parks and Recreation Director Scott Caron told McWhorter in an email at the time, “After carefully reviewing the proposed property and conditions, the city does not have funds available to develop plans or construct a park at this time.”

A group of developers led by Hudson Johnson has purchased the Lake Lomond property, and their plans would take the financial obligation off the city’s shoulders.

Johnson said he wants to “bring nature to the city’s back door,” turning the 25-acre lake and its surrounding land about 2 miles west of downtown into not only a destination for the community but a tourist attraction, as well.

He told us he envisions a trail around the lake as well as lakefront businesses and an event venue.

The developers’ initial plans for the property, which they say could take up to a year, include basic infrastructure such as signage, parking, trail layout and completion and maintenance, bridges and restrooms.

The next steps would significantly change the look and purposes of the land. Johnson said the goal would be to connect to the city trails, add a boardwalk and additional potential amenities such as a learning center/park hub and more.

Johnson says his group aims to simply make Longview a greener, healthier community, and the Lake Lomond project is a great way to achieve that.

“We want to contribute to a healthier, greener lifestyle,” he told us. “And we envision this as the type of project that makes people want to move to Longview.”

Private development that works hand-in-hand with the city to add public green space is a win-win for everyone involved.

We look forward to seeing the project progress.

Recommended for You