State board recommends $300K for Grand River Greenway


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A state board has proposed a $300,000 grant that would go toward an Ottawa County trail project.

The Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund (MNRTF) board at its annual meeting in December recommended development funds be allocated to Ottawa County Parks & Recreation for development and construction of a 1-mile segment of the Idema Explorers Trail in Jenison.

The funding is part of a recommended $25 million in grant awards for outdoor recreation development and land acquisition projects that MNRTF is hoping to secure from the state sometime in the second quarter of 2020.

The Idema Explorers Trail is a key feature of the Grand River Greenway, which is comprised of 9,000 acres of public land between Grand Haven and Grand Rapids. The preservation of this land provides scenic natural spaces and habitat for wildlife and recreation. Currently, 13 miles of the 36.5-mile Idema Explorers Trail have been constructed, with another 12 being engineered.

The Jenison Mill segment will connect a portion of the Idema Explorers Trail along Cottonwood Drive to existing trails in Kent County. It will allow users easier access to the Grand River; Millennium Park; and many miles of regional trails, including seven miles of riverfront trail in Kent County, the Grand Rapids bike lane network, Kent Trails and the Fred Meijer Standale Trail.

“One of our goals is to connect with neighboring communities and to connect to our waterfront,” said Jim Wierenga, Georgetown Township supervisor. “We were excited the Idema Explorers Trail created a connection to Allendale last fall and look forward to connecting with Kent County, as well as to the Grand River. We are a community with a river that runs through it, and that resource is often overlooked. The more the Grand River Greenway project moves forward, the more this asset in our community begins to capture the attention of our citizens.”

The board’s recommendations will go to the state Legislature for review as part of the appropriations process after the holiday break. If it is approved, the Legislature will forward a bill for the governor’s signature.

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