Ingham County Taking Regional Trails to Next Level

Friends of the Fred Meijer Clinton-Ionia-Shiawassee Trail should know that their neighbors to the south (Ingham County) are undergoing a regional trails and parks planning process! Voters approved a millage in November 2014, which will yield $20 million over the course of the next six years for trails and parks acquisition, development, and maintenance. A task force of county commissioners is working with Mannik & Smith Group, a professional engineering firm, and Michigan Trails and Greenways Alliance to set up the plan and process for spending this funding.

To date, the consultants have:

  • Inventoried and assessed the condition of all existing land and water trails in the county
  • Gathered Analyzed all county, regional, and local plans relevant to planned trail connections, county park improvements and needed county park repairs.
  • Completed a cost projection for all repairs needed on existing trails
  • Conducted and analyzed the data from six public input meetings across the county to take public input on preferred millage expenditures and priority trails
  • Developed and analyzed the data from an online survey for additional public input
  • Researched and reported on state and national examples of trails and parks millage prioritization and spending processes
  • Recommended a spending process and prioritization approach
  • Assembled a draft report on all of the above

It is now up to the task force to review the report, recommend revisions and make final recommendations to the full board of commissioners by the end of February 2016. Once the plan is finalized, it will be added as an addendum to the county parks and recreation master plan, which has also just begun its 5 year update process. Perhaps a trail connection from Lansing towards Clinton County and the Fred Meijer CIS Trail will be a little closer in our sights due to this new millage!

Progress on Michigan’s Trail Grid

Two of Michigan’s cross-state trail arteries, the Iron Belle Trail (Belle Isle to Ironwood) and the Great Lake to Lake Trail (Port Huron to South Haven) received a flurry of activity these past couple months. Notification of small grant opportunities totaling $350,000 with up to $30,000 each for development of segments of the Iron Belle Trail was posted by the Michigan Department of Natural Resources.  Communities and trail groups across the more than 1,270 mile hiking route as well as the more than 790 mile biking route scrambled to get their applications together for planning and engineering, signage, and trail construction.  And since the Iron Belle Trail hiking route uses the Great Lake to Lake Trail from Stockbridge to Galesburg, any funding for trails along that route will impact progress on that trail as well!  Grant decisions are expected within the next 6 to 8 weeks.  In the meantime, MTGA will continue to assist communities from Detroit to Bay City with the myriad of details in setting up their trail segments.