Genesee County expected to receive grant for Iron Belle Trail extension

ATLAS TWP. — Genesee County will soon get a major boost for local recreational projects, including an extension of the Iron Belle Trail in Atlas Township.

House Bill 4469, which has passed both houses and is heading to Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s desk for approval, would support Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund (MNRT) projects for 2021. As part of the legislation, Genesee County is slated to receive $900,000 from the trust fund toward over $4.8 million in three local recreational improvement projects in southern Genesee County.

Under the bill, Genesee County will receive a $300,000 grant toward the development of a 2.28-mile section of the Iron Belle Trail in Atlas Township. The $2.3 million project would span the south side of Perry Road and provide a link in the Iron Belle Trail’s 2000-mile network of walking and bicycling trails that will ultimately stretch from Belle Isle in Detroit to Ironwood in the western Upper Peninsula.

Additionally, the Iron Belle Trail extension would provide non-motorized access to outdoor recreation opportunities at the 150-acre Atlas County Park, such as hiking, shore fishing and paddling on Kearsley Creek.

In addition to funding the Iron Belle Trail extension through Atlas Township, House Bill 4469 would contribute funds through the MNRT to develop the Silver Lake Road Connector Trail through the communities of Linden, Fenton and Fenton Township and add an ADA-accessible kayak/canoe launch and other recreational upgrades for the City of Fenton along the Shiawassee River Water Trail.

The MNRT is supported by interest earnings from the development of state-owned mineral rights. The fund’s dollars are constitutionally restricted to recreation improvements and land acquisitions.