— With more than $25,000 raised so far, Flint Township still needs approximately $17,000 in funds to help finance the Genesee Valley Trail.
At the Sept. 20 Board of Trustees meeting, Supervisor Karyn Miller said she had submitted an application to the Ruth Mott Foundation, requesting $12,000 for the trail, and should receive notification by the end of October. Miller also said Ed McHale from the Genesee Valley Center was in support of the trail project, and there was the possibility of the mall contributing to the project. At the meeting, Jack Minore, president of Friends of the Flint River Trail, presented the board with close to $1,600 in checks from members of the group.
The realization of the Genesee Valley Trail began when the Flint Township Board of Trustees voted 5-1, with Treasurer Sandra Wright dissenting, in favor of hiring Wilcox Engineering at a price of $42,000 at its Aug. 31 special meeting. The total project is approximately $1 million, with $950,400 available through a federal grant for the township.
“The grant is restrict and competitive,” Miller said. “If we don’t use the money, we will lose it and someone else gets it.”
Derek Bradshaw, principal planner from the Genesee County Metropolitan Planning Commission, said that all the money for the project needs to be “tied up” by Dec. 31 in order for the township to receive a waiver, and not have to pay back the federal money for the trail project. If the money is not there by the Dec. 31 deadline, Bradshaw said the township would be responsible for a 20 percent match.
If the township cannot raise the entire $42,000 to pay Wilcox Engineering, there is a possibility of uti- lizing road millage funds. At a previous board meeting, MIller said she had received opinions from the township’s attorneys and Plante & Moran, and that the township could use money from road millage funds to pay for the Genesee Valley Trail if not enough money was raised. Since then, a few community members have expressed their disapproval of utilizing road millage funds for the Genesee Valley Trail.
At the Sept. 20 meeting, Ken Grover, who serves on the road advisory committee, reported that the committee, with the exception of Miller, unanimously voted against using road millage funds for the trail at its Sept. 13 meeting.
“I’m personally in favor, but not for us to use road funds,” he said. “We are duty-bound.” Grover cited language in the millage, saying the road millage is “inclusive to provide funds for road millage and improvements.”
Miller responded by saying the Genesee Valley Trail project was within the legal rights for using road millage funds.
The proposal for the Genesee Valley Trail involves converting an abandoned railroad into a recreational trail. The original plan for the trail, which is 2.3-miles, begins at Corunna Rd. and the old railroad crossing (near Ballenger Hwy.) and ends at the north signal light near the entrance/exit of Genesee Valley Center. Since the original plans were made, the committee decided to add an extension of the trail, adding 3,050-feet, and ending it near the police station at Norko and Fleckenstein Drives. With the extension, the Genesee Valley Trail would be three miles. According to officials, the extension does not increase the cost required of Flint Township. Construction on the Genesee Valley Trail should begin in Spring 2011.
Individuals and businesses interested in making donations to the Genesee Valley Trail project can stop by the township offices, 1490 S. Dye Rd., or call 810-732-1350. For more information on the trail, visit geneseevalleytrail.com/.