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Planning and Economic Development

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eMacomb - Featured Article, September 2009

Macomb County works to build non-motorized transportation network

Fact or Fiction:  “If you build it, they will come . . . “

Fact!  According to a 2004 study by Michigan State University of nearby Paint Creek Trail in Oakland County:

  • Each day, an average of 434 people use the trail
  • 37 percent use it for recreational purposes; 48% for exercise, 11% in training for a race and 4% as a form of transportation
  • 90 percent of users are nearby residents; 10% of users come from outside of the area
  • 33 percent of visitors from outside of the area also visit a nearby restaurant
  • 45 percent of users drove to the trail; 55 percent did not
  • 86 percent of trail users are adults with an average age of 46

Fact or Fiction:  “Trails help to increase property values”

Fact!  A 2006 Massachusetts study found that homes located adjacent to a trail were appraised by up to ten percent higher than comparable homes not located near a trail.

Fact!  The same study found that homes located adjacent to a trail took an average of 29.3 days to sell as opposed to 50.4 days for comparable homes not located near a trail.

Macomb County is currently working to complete a 70-mile loop of hike and bike trails.  Involving 16 communities, the current status of each link, as depicted on the County Loop Map, follows:

Mount Clemens - City and county officials have met with officials from the Michigan Department of Transportation and have agreed to build a split trail of 6 feet wide on each side of North Bound Gratiot.  Another 10 foot path will be built from the Shady Side Bridge on Wellington Crescent across to south bound Gratiot.  This trail will connect into the lower end of Main Street where one lane will be reconfigured to create bike lanes and the sidewalks will be redone.

Harrison Township – With a recent allocation of approximately $3 million, the township will build a trail from 16 mile, over the new Bridgeview Bridge and connect to the entrance of the base.  The bridge is being constructed right now and the Macomb County Road Commission has built walkways on both sides.

Selfridge Air National Guard Base – engineering studies are underway to build a trail that protects important shoreline while maintaining compliance with base security concerns.  Parts of this trail might actually be built over the water.

Chesterfield Township – currently unfunded, township officials are working with the county to secure necessary grant funds. 

New Baltimore – grants from MDOT and Michigan Department of Natural Resources are currently pending.    

A collaborative comprised of the townships of Lenox and Richmond are working with Anchor Bay Schools, Saint Clair County Parks and Recreation and Casco Township to develop a proposal for the Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund and a Safe-Routes-to-School grant through MDOT to cover costs for this trail.  Grants would be submitted in 2010 and available in 2011.

Richmond Main Street- the department is currently working with the City of Richmond on this project.

Macomb Orchard Trail - engineers have found a solution to the soft stone portion of path.  In Spring of 2010 the 7 mile portion of stone will be rebuilt.  The engineers are developing a solution for the failing bridge over the Clinton River.

Shelby Township – is planning to add a new section of trail in Riverbends Park this year. 

Utica – recently received a grant to pick up the trail where it ends in Sterling Heights.  This portion will cross the river and go through a tunnel beneath M-59.

Sterling Heights to Metro Beach - already in place, funds are begin sought for maintenance purposes.

There are many positive reasons for completing the trail loop.  Aside from obvious health benefits derived by users, the trail can also be a way to attract visitors to our area and our hotels, shops and restaurants.  Many businesses, especially those that attract creative types, recognize that proximity to this mode of transportation is a helpful tool for recruiting the best employees.  Homes located on or close to trails are typically higher priced that those that aren’t which has a positive impact not only on resale value but also in our tax base.

The support of area organizations and businesses are greatly needed.  To learn more about how you can get involved in this project, please contact John Crumm, Program Manager at 586-463-8671.