WILLIAMSTON, Mich. (WLNS) – It’s a bittersweet time for a man who owns a corn maze in Williamston.
It’s been a staple in the community for the past 20 years, but this year will be it’s last.
The farmer says a Consumers Energy pipeline project gave him no choice but to close it down.
“Here at Best Maze, we’ve got tall corn waiting for you this fall,” said owner Mark Benjamin. “I’m not gonna cry. I’m hoping on October 30th it’s raining just a little bit so you can’t tell if I have a couple of tears up here.”
Benjamin was approached about Consumers Energy’s mid-Michigan pipeline project back in 2020. It will replace a pipe from the 1940s.
Officials say it will help modernize the state’s natural gas system for customers. Benjamin says part of the pipeline will go through a parking lot that holds 72 spots.
Something he says could’ve been avoided.
“I can’t park cars with a trench here. If they did the directional bore of the tunnel. We could’ve parked cars here,” Benjamin said.
Consumers Energy is going to be building that pipeline in the parking lot where most of the customers visiting the corn maze park their vehicles. But since it’s being built, it would force customers to have to park on the side of the road at night.
“So, it’s his prerogative that he’s closing it, but we were doing everything we could and thought we had an agreement with him that was going to keep it open,” said Consumers spokesman Terry Dedoes.
Dedoes said they had plans to build another lot equipped with security.
“We were going to relocate a parking lot just to the west of the existing parking lot so there would not be an issue.
But Benjamin says the lot would be unfeasible for surface water to flow out of a corn maze of this many acres.
Aside from all this, he says his plans after the project are simple.
“The maze is ending so I’m gonna concentrate on farming and get a little bit bigger equipment and keep plugging along,” he said.
Best Maze’s final hours and days of operation are found here.