Crucial segments of Border-to-Border trail to be completed in Dexter, Ypsilanti Township
Some crucial connections could be completed in Washtenaw County's border-to-border trailÂ within the next few years, making it easier to travel by foot or by bike throughout the county, officials say.
One of the latest parts of the project would connect downtown Dexter with Hudson Mills Metropark off North Territorial Road and create the final one-mile stretch on the eastern side of the county, linking Washtenaw County's border-to-border trail with one in Wayne County.
Another segment on the eastern side of the county could be completed this year and would link an about one-mile stretch between the farthest end of the completed trail and a trail that begins on the Wayne County side of the border, officials say.
The border-to-border trail is an collaborative project to create a trail for non-motorized travel through Washtenaw County along the Huron River between Livingston and Wayne Counties. When completed, the trail will be 35 miles long and pass through the communities of Ypsilanti, Ann Arbor and Dexter.
The proposed project in the Dexter area would connect the Mill Creek Park trail to the Hudson Mills Metropark trail at an estimated cost of about $2.89 million.
The connection recently received an additional commitment of funding from the county parks and recreation commission.
That portion of the project could be completed in 2012 if grant funding is approved later this year.
The first stage of the project would be constructed in Warrior Park just northwest of downtown Dexter and would include a boardwalk over the Huron River and just under a railroad bridge there.
Funding for that portion of the project has been secured. It is anticipated to be built before the end of the year if approval is received from the railroad, said Robert Tetens, director of the Washtenaw County Parks and Recreation Commission.
The second stage of the project would connect that portion of the trail with the Hudson Mills trail about three miles away. The trail would run along the Huron River and would come in view of the Hudson Mills Metropark Golf Course in some portions. It would not be close enough to put anyone on the trail in danger of getting hit by a golf balls, Tetens said.
The Washtenaw County Parks and Recreation Commission has committed about $1.3 million toward the construction of the project. The project has been awarded a match grant of $780,000 by the Michigan Department of Transportation. It has also received commitments of at least $860,000 from the Michigan Department of Natural Resources and $100,000 from the Washtenaw County Road Commission.
The Huron-Clinton Metropark Authority is providing design, engineering, a natural features inventory and environmental study and long-term maintenance of the trail.
Completing a connection between a two-mile segment south of North Territorial Road at Hudson MIlls Metropark to downtown Dexter would be a major connection, said Jim Kropp, supervising park planner for the Huron-Clinton Metroparks, which includes Hudson Mills.
"We haven't made a major connection in the western section of the trail, and I think it'd really be a fantastic community resource for people in the Dexter area," Kropp said.Â
In addition to giving an option for families to safely travel by foot or bike, it also would give folks a chance to enjoy hundreds of acres of public land that aren't otherwise accessible, he said.
Meanwhile, the project in Ypsilanti Township -Â a collaboration between the township, the county road commission and county parks and recreation - would create a section of the trail along Bridge and Textile roads.
The trails, to be built along road commission and township rights-of-way, was approved last September and could be constructed as early as this summer, Tetens said.
That would officially connect the border-to-border trail with the border of Wayne County and trails that run through it.Â
It would also create a potential future connection with another trail project, which recently received a county parks funding commitment from the Connecting Communities program. It leads to Lakeside Park in Ypsilanti Township.
Last fall, a nearly one-mile portion of the trail near Water Street and Michigan Avenue in Ypsilanti was opened.
Tina Reed is the health and environment reporter at AnnArbor.com. You can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 734-623-2325.