Source: Sherman Publications

Atlas Township to host meeting on bike/walking path

by David Fleet

November 20, 2013

Atlas Twp.-At 6 p.m., Nov. 25, there will be an informational, exploratory meeting to discuss the possible future development of new and/or expansion of existing bike/walking paths within the township.

Shirley Kautman-Jones, township supervisor, said representatives from the Michigan Department of Transportation and Genesee County Parks will attend the meeting.

“Establishing a bike or walking path in the township is a very big, long-term process,” said Jones. “There are grants available for these projects. We need to explore the easements and develop a plan to move forward. During the meeting we’ll discuss a regional plan, along with Davison and Grand Blanc.”

Plans for bike/walking paths were spearheaded by township resident Paulette Johnson during the Oct. 21 township meeting.

Johnson said she distributed petitions to eight village businesses last June seeking feedback from residents regarding the future of a walking/bike path in the township. She collected the petitions in July and presented the data to the township board last month during the public comments. She reported a total of 358 interested in expanding the Goodrich walking paths in the township as well as support for Atlas Township joining Goodrich in recreation.

Also in October, the Genesee County Parks and Recreation Commission extended an invitation to local governments to opt-in to the Genesee County Park, Recreation, Open Space, and Greenway Five-year Plan.

As a result, on Monday night the board of trustees voted 4-0 to approve a township parks and recreation plan. Township Treasurer Ann Marie Moore was absent.

“Opting in to the county parks plan is a no-cost way to demonstrate the type of cooperative planning efforts that the state is encouraging in several initiatives that may, unltimately, provide access to additional resources for individual communities and for the Genesee County region as a whole,” said Amy McMillan, director of Genesee County Parks and Recreation Commission, in a letter to the township.

The resolution for the township parks and recreation plan is a first for the township.

While several areas for biking/walking paths may be discussed at Monday’s meeting, no definite locations have been identified. However, in 2007 the Genesee County Metropolitan Alliance completed the Genesee County Regional Trail plan, developed to provide a framework for creating an interconnected system of trailways throughout Genesee County. The plan suggested five possible locations for path development within the township:

nThe M-15 Recreational Heritage Route traverses through Atlas Township and the Village of Goodrich.

nThe Trolley Line Trail - South is a Consumers Energy corridor that connects the City of Burton, through Atthe City of Burton, through Atlas to the Village of Goodrich. This trail is part of the old interurban trolley line that once ran through Genesee County. In many sections near the Village of Goodrich, the land is privately held—easement from five property owners would be needed.

nA Consumers Energy corridor runs westward from M-15 south of Horton Road and turns southward just before Gale Road. This corridor connects into Oakland County and Holly Recreation Area State Park. This corridor has also been identified by Oakland County Planning and Development Commission and Headwaters Trails Inc. as a regional connection with Genesee County.

nThe Baldwin Road and Gale Road bike lanes connect with the proposed bike lane along Baldwin Road in Grand Blanc Township. The bike lane will also serve the students of Goodrich Area Schools.

nThe Thread Creek Trailway is another potential connection/preservation corridor running through both Grand Blanc Township and Atlas Township along Thread Creek. A branch also extends into the Goodrich Area Schools complex on Gale Road. This corridor would involve easements through private property for most of its length, but would be a picturesque trail corridor.