Township board narrows trail options

By David Fleet
Brandon Twp.- By a 4-3 vote on Tuesday night the township board of trustees removed Route A from consideration as possible connection segment with the Iron Belle Trail. Treasurer Darnall, Clerk Allen, Trustee Marshall and Trustee Broughton voted yes. Supervisor Thurman, Trustee DePalma and Trustee Kordella voted no.
Route A which is 7.6 miles from Baldwin to Sherwood to Sashabaw to Hummer Lake roads to Mill Street was one of four outlined to connect with the Iron Belle Trail—a state project which seeks to establish two continuous trails, one for biking and one for hiking, from Belle Isle in Detroit to Ironwood in the Upper Peninsula.

The routes were carefully chosen to utilize existing trails in the state to which new trails could connect and be the safest for trail users and the environment and least expensive for communities.
The biking trail is proposed to traverse 791 miles, includes the Polly Ann Trail in Oxford and Orion, and would include at least seven miles of trail in Brandon.
“It’s a ‘no go’ as far as I’m concerned,” said Trustee Robert Marshall, who made the motion to dump Route A. “I ran on the idea of public safety, police, fire and EMS. This does not improve any of them if anything in actual impacts negatively on all of them. So for that reason and I’ve been clear about this from the very start I see no good coming from these trails. We are asking this committee to make a presentation to us, I would like to see a written rational from each board member as to why they voted the way they did. So people can see the decisions they make.”
Kristen Wiltfang, senior planner for Oakland County Economic Development and Community Affairs, informed the township earlier this year the state should be notified by October if the community wants a section of the Iron Belle Trail to come through.
“Personally I don’t think Route A is the best route,” said Kathy Thurman, township supervisor, who voted to keep Route A in consideration. “But I think the subcommittee and the township needs to look at all routes.”
Last year, Brandon Township officials conducted a trail survey after using DNR grant funds to determine four potential routes in the community—remaining for consideration are Route B, which is Seymour Lake to the ITC corridor to Granger to Hadley to Hummer Lake roads to Mill Street for 9.7 miles and costs $7,918,510 and Route D, 8 miles from Baldwin to Granger to Hadley to Hummer Lake roads to Mill Street with an estimated cost of $8,127,205.
The trail subcommittee, which consists of Thurman, Kordella, Darnall and township residents Dwight Woodbridge, Paul Barber, Jennifer Bickel and Candice Hill, was convened last month to begin researching the answers to numerous questions surrounding a proposed township connection to the Iron Belle Trail.
The Brandon Township Trails Sub-Committee is inviting the public to submit their opinions on whether or not they are in favor of having an Iron Belle Trail segment through Brandon Township. Please send your opinion to Candy Hill at by Sept. 12. You will need to include your name, full address and if you are over 18 on your correspondence. Only one response per address will be considered. Submissions prior to Aug. 11, 2017 will not be counted.

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