By David Fleet
Atlas Twp.- On Aug. 7, township voters will head to the poll to decide a renewal of the recreational pathways millage. A yes vote means an existing millage of .125 or $6.25 per year taxable value $100,000 will continue.
The millage will raise about $40,000 per year, said Paulette Johnson, co-chair of the “Walk, Bike, Run Atlas Township” committee.
“The funding for trails is very competitive and matching funds are critical for those grants,” said Johnson. “The response has been very positive and many residents now use the Gale Road trail year around.”
The ‘Walk, Bike, Run Atlas Township committee formed in 2013 and gathered 358 signed petitions from residents in support of recreational paths in the township. The committee reported trails are necessary to provide a sense of community, increase property values, offer a safe location for outdoor activities, attract young families to the community, and improve the health of residents. Much of the funding for the project will come from established grant sources such as the Michigan Department of Natural Resources. However, matching dollars are often needed which will be funded by the pathway millage. In November 2014 area voters went to the polls and OK’d recreational pathways by a vote of 1,664 yes to 1,502 no.
“Some of the millage money is used for preliminary engineering of future pathways that residents have indicated necessary,” she said.
Recently, the Walk, Bike, run Atlas Township received a $30,000 grant to do the preliminary engineering on M-15 north from the Oakland County line into Goodrich. The next trail will be Perry Road to Grand Blanc Township.
Since the millage passed trail projects have moved forward.
On Oct. 1, about 50 gathered for the Gale Road walking trail opening at the township offices, 7386 Gale Road. The new 12 foot wide trail on the west side of Gale Road is from Goodrich Oaktree Elementary School to the Village of Atlas. In December 2015, the Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund announced its final recommendation for $300,000 in funding for the construction of a one-mile long path along the Gale Road right-of-way.
The estimated cost of the Gale Road Trail was about $778,173. The $300,000 from the Michigan Department of Natural Resources Trust Fund Grant plus $300,000 from the Transportation Alternatives Program or TAP Grant will comprise about 80 percent of the money needed for the project.
By David Fleet