By David Fleet
Atlas Twp. — A summer-long pathway project along the south side of Perry Road will be halted on Nov. 15.
Construction of the two-mile section of the Iron Belle Trail from Atlas to Grand Blanc Township connecting the existing Gale Road trail and ending near Mancour Drive just east of the Grand Blanc Middle School, encountered a series of delays due to weather along with a host of utility-line issues.
“Rain along with replacement of an older natural gas line slowed the work over the past few months,” said Kautman-Jones, township supervisor. “At the end of October there were 20 standing puddles along the pathway that caused the delays. Much of the ground that was back-filled following utility replacement is now covered with standing water.”
The project directed by the Michigan Department of Transportation was to be wrapped up in November. The driveways that cross the trails will be stabilized until spring and the speed in the construction area will be posted.
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