By David Fleet
Atlas Twp.-Step-by-step a trail system linking the township to Grand Blanc Township and beyond is inching closer.
Once the approved pathway from Atlas heads west along Perry Road to Grand Blanc Township local groups have a vision of a system of trails connecting neighborhoods, businesses, recreational areas and people throughout their community and, ultimately statewide.
The township section of the trail was OK’d in October 2018 when the board of trustees voted to move forward on extending the Gale Road trail west to the Grand Blanc line and Vasser Road. The 2.25 mile trail will include 1.75 miles in the township and .5 miles in Grand Blanc Township.
“The township will pay for the engineering and matching funds at a cost of $174,000,” said Barry June, township trustee. “(For that) you’re going to get a $1.8 million trail.”
The funds will come from the recreational pathways fund. Revenue is generated by a millage of .125 or $6.25 per year taxable value $100,000 was first approved by voters in November 2014 and then renewed earlier this year. Currently the trail fund grows at a rate of about $40,000 per year.
Once that moves forward the Friends of the Grand Blanc Grid will have extensive trails established. The Grand Blanc Grid is a nonprofit group of volunteers focused on the construction of non-motorized paths throughout the Grand Blanc area, connecting to local communities and the Iron Bell trail.
The proposed non-motorized path between Goodrich, Atlas and Grand Blanc is one of the Grand Blanc Grid’s top priorities, said Jeff Rains, GBG member.
“The non-motorized path between Goodrich, Atlas and Grand Blanc will provide direct, alternative transportation between the Village of Goodrich / Atlas Township and Grand Blanc communities,” said Rains. “The 3.1-mile path will begin at the at the newly constructed 10 foot wide Gale Road separated-use path in Atlas Township and travel west to Grand Blanc Township, primarily along the south side Perry Road to the newly established trailhead at Grand Blanc East Middle School.”
This project will build upon the regional shared use pathway network in southeastern Genesee County; completing the missing non-motorized link for these communities and Michigan’s Iron Belle Trail, he added.
“We’re working to promote non-motorized paths throughout Grand Blanc, with emphasis on connecting to the Iron Belle Trail (a 2,000-mile trail from Detroit to Ironwood),” said Rains. “We’re trying to promote other options than just jumping in your car.”