By David Fleet
Atlas Twp. — A five month pathway project along the south side of Perry Road is expected to kick off on July 5. The two-mile section of the Iron Belle Trail from Atlas to Grand Blanc Township will connect the existing Gale Road trail and end near Mancour Drive just east of the Grand Blanc Middle School.
“Construction will begin on both ends of the pathway,” said Kautman-Jones, township supervisor. “The trail will feature a boardwalk just outside of Atlas that will traverse some dips in the landscape. The project will be completed in November.”
Over the past two years, the tree removal along with Consumers Energy replacing the 100 year old natural gas lines along Perry Road was necessary prior to the construction.
At the upcoming July 24 township board of trustees meeting, Rowe Engineering will attend for discussion. Prints of the plan are also available at the township hall.
When funding becomes available, a final section of the project will be in 2024 and include a bridge over Thread Creek via Mancour Drive then go to the Grand Blanc Middle School. The 10-feet-wide path will require a 14-feet swath with two-feet on each side of the trail.
In May 2021, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signed HB 4469 which appropriated $37.8 million in Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund grants that will support 76 recreation projects and land purchases throughout Michigan. The grants were recommended by the Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund Board in December 2020. Some of the Perry Road trail funding was part of $27,289,600 with 30 acquisition grants and $10.5 million for 46 development grants. The project will be funded by a combination of federal, state and local sources including: MNRTF grant, $300,000; DNR Iron Belle Challenge Grant, $583,532;Transportation Alternatives Program (TAP), $1,120,000; Michigan Trails Fund, $100,000; Atlas Township, $174,000 and Grand Blanc Township, $50,000.
The matching funds will come from the township recreational pathways fund. Revenue is generated by a millage of .125 or $6.25 per year taxable value $100,000 was first approved by township voters in November 2014 and renewed in 2018. In May 2023, about $338,000 were in the fund.
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.
By David Fleet