Downriver communities celebrate greenway funding success

Downriver Linked Greenways is announcing approximately $1 million in upgrades to the network of trails and greenways it represents across southern Wayne County. Construction is already underway on some of the projects, and DLGI expects them to completed in total by October 2018.

Trails in Trenton, which are connected to the statewide Iron Belle Trail, are set to debut their first bike racks and new signage. Wayne County's Elizabeth Park, an island park located on the Detroit River in Trenton, is receiving more than $500,000 in construction upgrades and work is underway.

In Wyandotte, the Detroit River International Wildlife Refuge will receive more than $400,000 in construction upgrades. That project is scheduled to go out to bid.

DLGI has also secured grants to perform community outreach on behalf of the downriver communities and their network of non-motorized pathways. Additional improvements are planned for the number of greenways throughout the region.

"We want downriver residents to know what a gem they have in their own backyard," says Anita Twardesky, co-chair of the Downriver Linked Greenways Initiative.

Downriver's outdoor assets, from its system of greenways to its coastline along the Detroit River, and attractions that include the Wildlife Refuge and the River Raisin National Battlefield Park, are significant economic drivers for the region, says Twardesky.

"A lot of new businesses have started because of destination-based tourism of these water and bike trails," she adds.

They also make it easier for businesses to recruit employees to work downriver, she says.

The $1 million in improvements consists of a web of eight funding sources, including grants and in kind funding from the various communities. Each project will start and be completed at different times between now and October 2018, per the terms and requirements of the different funding sources.

At 4 p.m. on Thursday, June 8, a celebration is being held at Trenton City Hall for an announcement of the updates, the ribbon-cutting of the new bike racks, and the first bike ride along the new bike path there. Bicycles or walking shoes are encouraged.

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MJ Galbraith is a writer and musician living in Detroit. Follow him on Twitter @mikegalbraith.