Governor Rick Snyder signed the Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund appropriations bill today — St. Patrick’s Day — which spreads a bit-o-green around the state.
Included in the bill is $2 million in land acquisition funding to buy property within Wayne County in order to complete gaps in the cross-state Iron Belle Trail.
One of those gaps is the Beltline Greenway in Detroit. This conceptual path was part of the GREEN non-motorized planning for the lower eastside. The community recognized it as a priority connection.
The greenway would follow a former railroad called the Beltline that connected the Uniroyal Site on the RiverWalk and headed north to the Gleaner’s Community Food Bank and beyond. It actually goes under E. Jefferson Avenue. The city rebuilt this bridge last year in anticipation of the greenway.
For the Iron Belle Trail, the routing goes from the RiverWalk to Kercheval, shown as the purple line on the map graphic.
Conrail no longer owns this railroad property. The DEGC owns the property south of Jefferson while it’s in private hands to the north. With this funding, the DNR will have conversations with these private property owners about purchasing land to create the trail.
Of course additional funding is needed to design, build, and endow a maintenance/operations fund, but this is a major step forward.