April 25, 2012 - Local residents will have three opportunities to give their input regarding the future of the Polly Ann Trail.
The trail's management council is hosting three public meetings in the three townships through which the non-motorized, recreational path winds its way.
"We're in the first stages of putting together a (new) master plan," said Trail Manager Juliane Bagley. "Right now, we're trying to get ideas from the public on how to improve our map, the trail guide and our events."
The first meeting will take place Thursday, April 26 from 7-9 p.m. at Rowland Hall (23 E. Elmwood St.) in downtown Leonard.
The second will occur on Thursday, May 3 from 7-9 p.m. in the Oxford Community Room (22 W. Burdick St.).
The last meeting is scheduled for Thursday, May 10 from 7-9 p.m. at the Orion Township offices (2525 Joslyn Rd.).
"All three are designed to get public input on everything about the Polly Ann Trail," Bagley said.
Each meeting will feature a short presentation on the trail's past (i.e. its days as a railroad route), present and future.
Comment stations will be set up to collect public input on the trail as it exists today and solicit suggestions for future projects and improvements.
"We want to encourage people to start thinking about other things they might like to see on the trail or happen to it in the future," Bagley said.
For instance, the old railroad route extends all the way to Pontiac, but the Polly Ann Trail ends in Orion Township.
"Would people like to see the trail travel further south? We could, in essence, go all the way down there if that's what people wanted to do," Bagley explained.
The management council is currently responsible for maintaining the trail that stretches from Bordman Rd. in Addison Township to Greenshield Rd. in Orion Township.
There's a stretch of the Polly Ann Trail that extends from Greenshield Rd. south to just before Waldon Rd. This portion is owned and maintained by Orion Twp.
Despite this political division, Bagley indicated "the master plan will apply to the entire trail."
"I want people to consider the Polly Ann Trail as a whole," she said. "It's called the Polly Ann Trail all the way through Orion Township. We want to encourage a sense of unity. Everyone's allowed to use the trail."
The pedestrian trail is currently utilized for walking, hiking, jogging, bicycling, horseback riding, in-line skating, skateboarding and cross country skiing.
According to Bagley, the trail council hopes to have the updated master plan completed by next year.
"It does take a while," she said. "It could take until the spring of 2013, but we hope to have it done sooner."
Folks who are unable to attend any of the public input meetings are asked to please take a few minutes to fill out an on-line survey at www.surveymonkey.com/s/pollyanntrail. For more information, contact Bagley at (248) 969-8660 or via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
CJ Carnacchio is editor for The Oxford Leader. He lives in the Village of Oxford with his wife Connie and daughter Larissa. When he's not busy working on the newspaper, he enjoys cigars/pipes, Martinis/Scotch, hunting and fishing.