City eyes 2020 for start up of trail extension project

SWARTZ CREEK — With two state agencies showing a lot of interest, the City of Swartz Creek could break ground on a non-motorized trail early in 2020.

The trail will connect the Genesee Valley Trail from its terminus at Norko Drive in Flint Township to Elms Park. The project is the first phase of a larger plan to ultimately extend the trail along the Swartz Creek to the western city limits.

The initial extension hinges on two state agencies – the Department of Natural Resources and Department of Transportation – awarding grants that would cover about 87 percent of the estimated $1 million cost.

“This is an outstanding scenario,” said City Manager Adam Zettel. “I don’t think it gets much better.”

Vanessa Warren, project manager for OHM Advisors, said MDOT appears poised to award a grant that would cover about 57 percent of the project cost, but the DNR has requested a little more information.

“The DNR contacted us after we applied … and encouraged the city to go for the whole $300,000, the maximum,” Warren said. “This is very promising.”

Warren and Zettel said extending the Genesee Valley Trail is a “very high priority” for the state.

The Genesee Valley Trail is part of the Iron Belle Trail which ultimately will connect Belle Isle in Detroit to Ironwood in the Upper Peninsula.

If everything goes as planned, the 10-foot-wide trail will go west from Dye Road, through MTA property to Miller Road, west along the rights-of-way on Miller and Bristol roads, then south along a Consumers Energy easement to the back of Elms Park. The easement is located behind residential property on Elms Road.

Zettel and Warren are still working with CN Railroad, Consumers Energy, MTA and GM to obtain easements and permissions to utilize their properties. Zettel said the talks have been positive.

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