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June 22, 2013

Garfield begins design phase for Buffalo Ridge Trail

TRAVERSE CITY — Garfield Township officials will seek public comments before they begin final design of a key link in the Buffalo Ridge Trail to connect the township’s west side with downtown Traverse City.

The $269,000 trail project will construct a 0.85-mile link with a trail head at the new Grand Traverse Bay YMCA on Silver Lake Road to Traverse City West Middle School. At the school the trail connects with the existing Buffalo Ridge Trail that runs into the Grand Traverse Commons and links to the TART Trail.

“One of the coolest pieces of this trail is the historical pasture it will go through,” said Julie Clark, executive director of TART Trails. “There’s not many places in Traverse City where you can see buffalo up close and personal. It will be a pretty unique trail experience.”

Valarie Handy, a Garfield Township parks commissioner, said the trail will allow westside residents to park at the YMCA and commute to downtown by bike or foot. The trail also will provide an alternative route for students and residents to access the YMCA and Kids Creek Park other than using traffic-heavy Silver Lake Road.

The trail corridor already is set, but residents are invited to help determine the look and feel of the 10-foot-wide, asphalt and wood boardwalk trail by determining where it goes within the existing corridor to take advantage of view sheds and other natural features. Public comment also will help determine where to put stops and future connection points to other trails.

“Trail design is not brain surgery, but it’s part art and part science and making sure we are sensitive to all users and the neighbors near by,” Clark said.

The trail design meeting will take place Monday at 6 p.m. in Garfield Township Hall, 3838 Veterans Drive.

The trail is funded though a $199,000 Natural Resources Trust Fund Grant and $70,000 from Garfield Township. It will meet Americans with Disability Act accessibility standards. Construction could begin as early as fall but spring 2014 is more likely, Clark said.

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