Source: Sherman Publications

$300,000 for safety path extension

by Andrea Beaudoin

July 17, 2013

A new safety path connecting north and south entrances to Independence Oaks County Park could cost Independence Township up to $300,000.

The Independence Township Board voted, July 9, to allow township Supervisor Pat Kittle to sign a sponsorship agreement with SEMCOG's Transportation Alternative Program (TAP) and act as the township’s representative regarding its safety plan.

Township officials will seek a grant from TAP, which provides funds for pedestrian and bicycle paths. TAP will provide 80 percent of the funding, with a 20 percent match from the township to complete the extension. The township agreed to match funding up to $300,000. If the matching cost exceeds $300,000, then the county will cover the additional costs.

TAP, a part of SEMCOG, Southeast Michigan Council Of Governments, provided $5 million to communities, road commissions, and public transit agencies in fiscal year 2013.

Budget analyst Rick Yaeger said the township's fund balance was healthy enough to take on the project – after the project,the township will still have $829,000 in the fund.

Independence Township has been working with Oakland County Parks and Recreation to extend several safety paths in the township. The new path, which runs down Clarkston Road from Sashabaw Road to the southern entrance of Independence Oaks Park, will be extended to the park's northern entrance on Sashabaw.

Independence Township started building safety paths in 1978, and later created a Safety Path Committee. The paved pathways are intended to create a safe way for walkers and bikers to travel between major areas of activity in the township. In 1992, the township adopted the Safety Path Plan into its Master Plan.

Oakland County has also promoted a regional system of safety paths in the county.

The new safety path will go over waterways and a boardwalk must be added, which adds to the cost, said Department of Public Works Director Linda Richardson at the July 9 meeting.

The project will begin in 2014.