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Final Stage of Macomb Orchard Trail Championed as Right Step for Region

A ribbon-cutting ceremony Tuesday marked the completion of the Macomb Orchard Trail's 24-mile stretch between Shelby Township and Richmond.

On a section of the Macomb Orchard Trail that bridges the Clinton River, U.S. Rep. Candice Miller, Macomb County Executive Mark Hackel, County Board Chairwoman Kathy Vosburg and others gathered Tuesday to mark the completion of the trail section connecting Bruce Township to Richmond.

Before a ribbon-cutting, government officials praised the years of work that led up to finishing the leg of hike-and-bike trail. The 24-mile, paved trail runs from Shelby Township up through Washington Township, Bruce Township, Romeo, Armada Township, the Village of Armada and east to Richmond.

The project also included rehabilitating the bridge spanning the North Branch of the Clinton River, where the ceremony was held.

The final trail section cost about $1.3 million. The total trail was about $8 million to build, with about 80 percent covered by federal funding, said Macomb County Director of Roads Robert Hoepfner.

Miller said it was important for communities to invest in such “quality-of-life” projects. The trail allows for healthy activity and can be used by people of all ages, she said.

“There are the naysayers who say you should never spend transportation dollars on (a) trail system,” the congresswoman added. “You can sort of understand that in some ways, but I really look at these trails as long, linear parks…”

Citing Macomb County's population increase of nearly 530,000 people during the last decade, Hackel said that part of the reason for the influx was due to such community development.

Being paved, the trail is wheelchair accessible as well, said Macomb County Commissioner Don Brown. As people use the trail, he added, it draws visitors into the communities through which it passes.

When the trail concept first came forward more than 10 years ago, many were skeptical that it would ever happen, Brown said. But the project was completed through the efforts and persistence of many individuals, he said.

While Tuesday's ceremony marked the completion of the main trail-way, the project isn't complete. Eventually, the Macomb Orchard Trail is to be a part of a that spans throughout the region, including in New Baltimore, Shelby Township and other Macomb County communities.

“It has been a complete team effort to make this (Macomb Orchard Trail) a reality,” Miller said.

ShelbyReader October 13, 2011 at 02:21 PM
It is odd that Republicans who are screaming about the federal deficit and spending on frivolous projects like unemployment and health care think that this is a great idea. This project was a redo of one section of the Macomb Orchard Trail because it wasn't done properly the first time and cost another $1million. Including this project, Macomb County is spending nearly $9 million on bike paths from 2009 - 2012 as part of the $34 million plus they are going to spend to complete their vision of a 70 mile loop. Given the deficits in Washington DC, most of that money will be borrowed and it will end up costing our children nearly $100 million when they get done paying for it.
kidcat24 October 14, 2011 at 10:51 AM
Really, when is Chesterfield going to get their's finished?
SA_BlackTandem October 15, 2011 at 09:36 AM
Anyone calling these trail projects frivolous obviously have never visited, let alone utilized any of our existing trails, Paint Creek, Macomb Orchard, Metro (16 mile), Clinton River, or the Polly Ann Trail. I suggest you put down your bag of chips, get your butt off the couch and start using these trails. We, the healthy, are tired of you, the couch potatoes driving up medical cost because they do not take care of their bodies. You should invest some of your money for your retirement; you should invest some of your time into your health. Teach your children a healthy life style, use the trails, they are an investment for our children! Create jobs and while costs are down, build them now, the cost will only rise in the future! Put one by my house in Chesterfield, and I will live here forever, if not I am moving closer to one upon my retirement. As of now I drive to Richmond or Stony Creek to utilize the trail system. A person from Shelby should be excited about the trail, people like me would like to live there… It helps your property value, open up your eyes!
BikeLady October 15, 2011 at 12:53 PM
You should all thank your lucky stars that you have these trails! I wish that I had been able to stay in Michigan long enough to see the completion of the Macomb Orchard Trail. I'm now living in Utah, where I have to drive 30 miles to get to a rail trail of any length. The other paved trail near me is pretty much unusable because of crime and goathead thorns. Money used to get people outdoors and moving is NEVER wasted. Money spent on crumbling roads so that fat lazy slobs can drive their gas-guzzling polution-mobiles, on the other hand...
Barb Tomaszewski October 16, 2011 at 12:08 PM
When is MACOMB TOWNSHIP going to get involved we more than need bike trails any trails just something more than nothing would be wonderful in this community. There must be someway to connect our community to this trail, so to the elected officals get on board and do somethng more than fighting get constructive, creative and put your energy toward something you could be proud of !!!!!!!!!!!!

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