A plan to unite Shelby Township’s Stony Creek Metropark with Lake St. Clair Metropark in Harrison Township is one step closer thanks to a last-minute save by a team of Shelby Township officials.
Parks, Recreation and Maintenance Director Joe Youngblood, Parks
Recreation and Maintenance Business Manager Cindy Martel, Deputy Supervisor
Brad D. Bates and engineer Carol Thurber from Fazal Khan and Associates worked
to salvage a portion of what was originally a $300,000 grant from the Michigan Department
of Natural Resources Trust Fund after the original $500,000 in matching funds
from a $1.9 million 2010 federal line item were not available.
“I am thankful that Cindy Martel went above and beyond in her
dogged pursuit of assurance from the county that the $500,000 was or was not
available before we submitted our final portion of the grant application,” Township
Stathakis said, noting that the federal money could not be used for
the grant match after bids came back too high and delayed the project that will
connect the city of Utica’s trail to River Bends Park.
“If we had submitted this portion of the grant application, and then faced these changes in the construction schedule, Shelby Township and its taxpayers would have been on the hook for the full $500,000.”
The original plan would have connected existing trail in the city of Utica to Stony Creek by way of River Bends, Holland Ponds, and Chief Gene Shepherd parks and the Macomb Orchard Trail, but it was tabled after bids for that portion of the project exceeded cost estimates by more than 10 percent.
“Because of the work of Shelby Township’s team on this project, we were
able to salvage enough funds to connect the Macomb Orchard Trail to our new
Chief Gene Shepherd Park and the existing Yates Trail near 23 Mile and
Dequindre roads,” Stathakis said. “This will bring together two of our
community’s top recreation destinations.”
Township first learned of the MDNRTF grant opportunity from Macomb County Department
of Roads Director of Planning John Crumm, and the proposed grant was originally
applied for and won by Youngblood, Martel and Thurber.
To receive the full $300,000 grant amount, a $500,000 local match was required. While that sum was not available because of the construction delays, the Township was able to secure roughly $177,000of Township funds to bring home $108,543.62 for the construction of the trail from the entry to the Macomb Orchard Trail on Dequindre Road to Chief Gene Shepherd Park and the Yates Trail just south of 23 Mile Road.
“With Carol Thurber, Joe Youngblood, Cindy Martel and Brad Bates working together on this, they found $177,097.50 that was already budgeted for projects that could be applied as a match,” Stathakis added. “Because they found this money we are able to build at least $108,000 worth of paved trail in Shelby Township at no direct cost to our taxpayers.”
Youngblood said that there is still an opportunity to realize more funding from the MDNRTF grant as other sources are being leveraged for matching funds, and the MDNR has committed to leaving open the opportunity to expand the Township’s grant.“Carol Thurber is working with MDOT at this point on some grant opportunities that could bring in as much as $200,000,” Youngblood said. “That would get us almost to the point of realizing our full MDNRTF grant.”