Posts Tagged ‘Michigan Airline’

Public Hearing for Commerce, Walled Lake & Wixom Trail

Friday, March 5th, 2010

From the Commerce, Walled Lake and Wixom Trailway Management Council:


NOTICE IS HEREBY GIVEN, pursuant to the Guidelines for the Development of Community Park, Recreation, Open Space, and Greenway Plans, Michigan Department of Natural Resources Grants Management, the Commerce, Walled Lake and Wixom Trailway Management Council will be holding a workshop and public hearing to discuss Council’s consideration to file a Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund (MNRTF) Grant application for financial assistance for acquisition of approximately 5.45 miles of railroad right of way, the purpose of which is to ultimately develop a non-motorized trail from Haggerty Road, in Commerce Township running east through the City of Walled Lake to the western city limits of Wixom. A map of the proposed trail and supporting documentation will be available at the meeting or before the meeting at the Commerce Township Planning Department located at 2009 Township Drive, Commerce Township, Michigan 48390.

NOTICE IS FURTHER GIVEN, that the Public Hearing and Workshop will be held at 5:00 P.M. on March 8, 2010 at the Commerce Township Hall, located at 2009 Township Drive, Commerce Township, MI 48390 to hear and consider public comments on the proposed MNRTF Grant Application.

All interested persons attending the hearing will be given an opportunity to be heard with respect to these matters. If you cannot attend this meeting, you may submit comments in writing to the Commerce, Walled Lake and Wixom Trailway Management Council c/o Commerce Township, 2009 Township Drive, Commerce Township, MI 48390 ATTN: Township Clerk or email until 5:00 PM the day of the meeting.

Trust Fund recommends Metro area trail projects

Wednesday, December 2nd, 2009

The Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund announced their recommended projects to be funded for 2010.

The Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund (MNRTF) Board of Trustees on Wednesday recommended to Governor Jennifer M. Granholm that 67 recreation projects and land acquisitions totaling $35.7 million be funded in 2010. The board this year had considered 175 applications for development and acquisition projects totaling $108.3 million, which were competitively evaluated based on scoring criteria developed by the Board.

“Our natural resources help set Michigan apart from other states, and the work of the Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund has made it possible to protect and acquire some of our most scenic lands and unique natural areas,” Granholm said. “These recommendations will allow all who live in and visit our state to further enjoy Michigan’s magnificent natural and recreational areas.”

We’d recently mentioned this upcoming decision. We also didn’t understand why the Wixom/Walled Lake/Commerce Michigan Airline rail-trail project was not listed. The DNR ruled the project ineligible until it can prove it has the required matching funds. (The Trust Fund does not cover 100% of a project’s cost.) It’s expected that this project will be resubmitted for next year’s grant funding.

Here are the final recommendations for trail-related projects within the Seven-county region. (more…)

Detroit-area Trail projects seek Trust Fund dollars

Sunday, November 29th, 2009
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.


Wixom gets on board with new trail group

Thursday, June 4th, 2009

There is some great news in the Spinal Column about Wixom officially joining Commere Township and Walled Lake to purchase a portion of the Coe railroad.

As we’ve reported prior, this would connect the Huron Valley Trail with the West Bloomfield Trail (and their planned extension), while creating 8 miles new miles rail-trail.

The communities have formally created a trailways alliance called the Commerce, Walled Lake and Wixom Trailway Management Council. Each municipality appointed one voting member to act in its best interests. Wixom City Manager Mike Dornan will represent Wixom, with Assistant City Manager Tony Nowicki serving as an alternate.

According to Nowicki, the formation of the trailway council is the first step toward acquiring railroad corridor property that spans from Haggerty Road to the western city limits of Wixom. That stretch is considered part of a missing link in a cross-county trail traversing the county limits and connecting into a cross-state corridor connecting one side of the state to the other.

“The council’s powers are limited to the acquisition and maintenance (of the rail corridor land), and for the purchase of railway right of way,” Nowicki said. “It doesn’t have the authority to levy any type of taxes.

Nowicki is currently preparing grant applications to seek funding to acquire the rail corridor.

Read the entire article

Michigan Air Line Trail in the News

Saturday, January 10th, 2009

The Michigan Air Line is the name of a railroad that ran east and west across Michigan.  Nearly all of that railroad line has been abandoned and much if not most of it is now rail-to-trail.

(Note that the Michigan Airline name has nothing to do with air travel.  In fact, the Airline route was developed before bicyclists Wilbur and Orville Wright flew their first plane.)

A part of the Michigan Airline lies between the Huron Valley Trail and the West Bloomfield Trail.  It was the Coe Railroad which ran a dinner train.  The dinner train has ended and efforts are underway to abandon the rail line and convert it to a trail.

As we’ve mentioned earlier, this would be a hugely critical and popular trail connection.  We also noted last month that West Bloomfield was recommended to receive grant money to purchase their portion of the railroad.

The Spinal Column ran another article this week that sheds more light on the progress or lack thereof.

The Michigan Star Clipper Dinner Train made its final run on Wednesday, Dec. 31, closing a 24-year chapter in Walled Lake’s history but also opening up negotiations on selling the railroad’s land to local municipalities.

Railmark Holdings Company CEO and President B. Allen Brown has entered into discussions with Montoff Transportation Company to sell the railroad land. Although no official transaction has been finalized, Brown insists a deal is close at hand.

“There are legal complications but that’s to be expected in such a complicated transaction,” he said. “There are at least five parties involved. Suffice it to say that as of Dec. 31, there was no deal, but all parties are committed and we are all making a final push this month to finalize something by end of January.”

Rail-trail conversions are never easy or straightforward.  So, with a little luck and committment, there’s hope this missing trail link can become a premier connection in the near future.