If the Boardman Lake Loop Trail was a human, it’d be 30 years old.
It might be buying a house. It might be married with kids. It might be starting to realize that youthful wear-and-tear on the bod isn’t something that travels well into the third decade.
We have watched this trail project grow and change, sometimes with the pride of parents of an ambitious child, sometimes with frustration and impatience.
The story of the Boardman Lake Loop Trail is a saga of victories and setbacks, and the end still isn’t written.
That’s because the trail isn’t complete.
Its last chapter is a leg 1.8 miles long, and will connect NMC’s University center, Logan’s Landing, and Medalie Park with the existing trail.
The last leg — and the project itself — has been a doozy. The trail is owned by the city, county and Garfield Township, and required cooperation between the three entities. Homeowners, landowners, business owners, developers and nonprofits had to be on board with public easements through their property.
Support is coordinated between the Brownfield Redevelopment Authority, the city, county, Garfield Township, Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa & Chippewa Indians and the state-administered Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund, Land and Water Conservation Fund and Transportation Alternatives Program Grant.
The project is larger than its already completed 3.5 miles might convey, and has hit another bump in the form of a $1.1 million budget shortfall after the construction bids came in.
Timing of the construction bids, not-refined-enough engineering, a compressed building timeline and the price of gravel were reasons given for the shortfall, according to the multi-agency group making this funding push.
We support this trail, and have since the conversation started. We’ve also pitched ideas through the years on how to git ‘er dun.
There’s no question a loop trail around the lake will simplify and up the safety for community users, our non-motorized commuters, community college students and workplace walking clubs.
And while the estimates for the last leg have varied through the years (from $2.8 million to its current $7.5 million price tag) and the timeline has certainly changed, we believe in the forward momentum that has carried the project this far.
It’s time to close the loop.