“It's the completion of the missing link of the bike path that we've been looking for,” Village President Jim MacLachlan said. “It looks amazing and it's getting a lot of use. It looks like it's always been there.”
A long chain of events — and several years of negotiations — went into the missing link.
It all came together last spring when Holiday Inn officials agreed to work with village staff and pitch in more than $4,000 to make the route a reality.
The 8-foot-wide path is on a Michigan Department of Transportation right of way, with that state agency's permission. It includes landscaping and a decorative fence that matches the fencing along nearby Savidge Street.
The final cost to the village was less than $60,000.
“It went very well working with the Holiday Inn and MDOT,” said Spring Lake/Ferrysburg Police Chief Roger DeYoung, who served as interim manager during the path's construction prior to Village Manager Chris Burns coming on board. “I'm glad it's done. It looks great and people seem to be enjoying it.”
Councilman Mark Miller is one of those people. He said he bikes the path almost every day.
“We struggled with this situation for years,” Miller said, straddling his bike next to the path. “We had to ride through the parking lot before. I was always nervous riding through the parking lot because somebody could back out at any time. It was an accident waiting to happen. This is a perfect solution.”
April Schmidt, general manager of the Holiday Inn in Spring Lake, said several hotel guests have commented favorably about the nonmotorized trail – including the landscaping.
“We've witnessed guests and locals alike using the new path, and have heard comments on how appreciative they are of the safety it brings,” Schmidt said. “Without having to cut through our parking lot to continue on the trail, the path is more enjoyable and has brought additional scenery.”