Detroit-area Trail projects seek Trust Fund dollars

Chairperson Pollack advised that at this time the estimates of funds available for
acquisition is $25.7 million and development $9.7 million.

The Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund (MNRTF) board meets on December 2nd to make their funding recommendations for park development and acquisition projects across the state.

According to Chairperson Lana Pollack, there is an estimated $25.7 million available for land acquisition and $9.7 million for development.

Not all projects will get funded as there is over $59 million in land acquisition requests and nearly $26 million in development requests.

To help determine what gets funded, all of the land acquisition and development projects have been ranked.

Here are some trail projects of interest to Metro Detroit bicyclists and other trail users.

Dequindre Cut and RiverWalk connection

09-149. William G. Milliken State Park and Harbor-Detroit East Riverwalk-Parks and Recreation Division. This is to complete the riverwalk trail to link Dequindre Cut. $500,000 request.

This is for phase III development at Milliken State Park. It would continue the RiverWalk eastward from the new lowlands area, past the grassy mound, near the old dry dock, and to the Dequindre Trail.

This project scored very well and is likely to receive funding.

Note that the cities such as Detroit and Hamtramck do not have approved recreation master plans on file with the DNR — a requirement for receiving Trust Fund grants. While the city of Detroit has a recreation plan, it has not been endorsed by city council and therefore does not meet the DNR requirements. Efforts are underway to help get the recreation plan through city council in early 2010.

Michigan Airline Trail

For some unknown reason, this land acquisition request is not included in the final project list. It should be. A presentation on the project was given at the October Trust Fund meeting.

09-170. Michigan Airline Railway Acquisition

Ms. Kathleen Cassidy, Administrator for the Commerce, Walled Lake and Wixom Management Council made a presentation in support of 09-170, Michigan Airline Railway Acquisition. The project is for the acquisition of 5.45 miles of railroad right-of-way for a trail that would traverse Commerce Township and the cities of Walled Lake and Wixom. These communities have formed an intergovernmental trails management council for the purpose of acquisition and development of this trail. There is great support for the project, with over 100 letters of support being received from citizens, politicians, adjacent communities and trail enthusiasts.

When completed, the proposed trail will connect with the Huron Valley and West Bloomfield Trails. The trail is within a mile of eight elementary, two middle and two high schools. In addition it adjoins to the downtown areas of Walled Lake and Wixom.

All three communities have pledged to operate and maintain their portions of the trail through their parks and recreation budgets. There is a willing seller.

The trail is part of the cross-state Michigan Airline Trailway and is one of the nine missing links in this trail.

Ms. Nancy Krupiarz, Executive Director of the Michigan Trails and Greenway Alliance, made a presentation in support of 09-170, Michigan Airline Railway Acquisition. This is a critical connection for the Michigan Airline Trail. It is located in a heavily populated area. She outlined where the trail would be located via a map.

Mr. Charters asked how much was being requested for this acquisition. Ms. Krupiarz responded the council is asking for $4,222,700 from the MNRTF.

Ms. Krupiarz advised the Board that a grant has recently been received from the Kresge Foundation to close some of the other gaps in the trail (five gaps).

Ms. Krupiarz also mentioned the I-275 Pathway, 40 miles that will connect halfway to the middle of the critical link. These 40 miles of trail go south to Monroe.

Hines Drive trail extension in Northville Township

This is a significant request and larger than the typical $4 million ceiling. That means it could be funded in phases. It does score high on the list and could be funded.

Below are notes from a presentation given to the MNRTF board in October.

09-174. Northville Township Linear Park Acquisition. $7,053,700

Ms. Marjorie Banner, Trustee for Northville Township, made a PowerPoint presentation in support of 09-174, Linear Park Acquisition. The property originally was 414 acres. The acquisition is to create a linear park to connect the former Northville State Hospital property with the Wayne County Hines Parkway system and acquire 200-year old growth forest and link to Southeast Michigan Greentrails Network.

A millage was approved for the purchase of 232 acres of the property. The city already owned 100-acre and 17-acre parcels, totaling 350 acres. Chairperson Pollack asked what the millage would generate. Ms. Banner responded the millage generated $23.5 million for the purchase of the property.

At this point, Ms. Frey made some comments. The property is located in the Detroit metropolitan region with a population of approximately 2.8 million within a 20-mile radius, located on the far west end of Wayne County. She pointed out particular areas involved with the acquisition via a map on PowerPoint.

On the eastern edge of the property is old grown forest, with some being 200 years old. The area is very accessible and open. There is the beginning of some trail development and could connect to the south end of the property. To the west there is an old rail grade that intersects that part of the property. The south side of the property provides some of the best and unique features. At the far left end of the property would be access to the Rouge River.

Ms. Frey further stated that the property is in a very visible and high profile location with easy access from major highways. She outlined partnerships with the county for trail systems and pointed out various aspects via PowerPoint. There is much support for this acquisition project.

Ms. Banner added that the developer of the project has agreed to a 50-50 (phased) funding of the acquisition.


Mr. Garner wondered if all the property was formerly Northville State Hospital property. Ms. Banner responded yes. Mr. Garner further asked who bought the property from the state. Ms. Banner responded REIS and the township is currently purchasing the township-owned portion of the property from them.

Mr. Muchmore asked about the buildings on the site. Mr. Grant Trigger responded that the entire property, buildings included, was purchased by REIS. A portion of the proposed project will be donated by the landowner. Mr. Muchmore asked about the remediation of the buildings. Ms. Banner said by purchasing the property, the township will be remediating the property through a brownfield. Mr. Muchmore asked who would retain the oil well on the property. Ms. Banner responded that the well will be retained by the owner of the oil well (Sunoco). Mr. Trigger added that the state retains all the mineral rights of the property.

Chairperson Pollack asked about other school districts using the property. Ms. Banner responded that the surrounding local school districts were certainly able to use the property, as well as the Detroit schools. It is intended to be a regional area. This will be open to the public. Chairperson Pollack suggested that the township put in writing how they anticipate the property being used as a classroom for school districts.

Mr. Muchmore asked if there would be any entrance fees. Ms. Banner responded no.

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One Response to “Detroit-area Trail projects seek Trust Fund dollars”

  1. Trust Fund recommends Metro area trail projects | Says:

    […] recently mentioned this upcoming decision. We also didn’t understand why the Wixom/Walled Lake/Commerce Michigan […]

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