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Celebrating a new link

Alex Doty • Sep 17, 2016 at 7:00 AM

ROBINSON TWP. — Ottawa County officials celebrated a milestone Friday when they cut the ribbon to the first phase of the new Spoonville Trail.

“Having this opportunity to collaborate with MDOT and our other partners to create this Spoonville Trail project is a fantastic opportunity that we’re all very excited about,” Ottawa County Planning Director Paul Sachs said.

The trail’s $1 million first phase stretches 1.8 miles from North Cedar Drive in Robinson Township to Leonard Road in Crockery Township, incorporating the Sgt. Henry E. Plant Pathway on M-231 over the Grand River.

The trail’s second phase is scheduled to be constructed next summer. The remaining 2 miles of non-motorized pathway will span from Leonard Road and 120th Avenue to Nunica, and will include more than 1,000 feet of pathway crossing the Crockery Creek Natural Area.

“The trail itself provides a fantastic, critical north/south connector between a lot of trail activities that are in the works in Ottawa County,” Sachs said.

The new trail is designed to be the key connection between the North Bank Trail, which runs along the north side of the Grand River, and the planned Grand River Greenway Trail south of the river. The trails will form a regional loop of non-motorized pathways known as the Grand Connection that will span from the shore of Lake Michigan to Grand Rapids.

“We are delighted that, ultimately, this will tie into the spectacular Grand River Greenway, which will go all the way from Lake Michigan to Kent County, and tie into Millennium Park eventually and the whole network that goes through Kent County,” Sachs said.

The trail also offers historical and educational opportunities, county officials say.

“We just think there are many opportunities not only to exercise, but also to take part and appreciate the culture of Ottawa County,” County Administrator Al Vanderberg said.

The Sgt. Henry E. Plant Pathway across the Grand River includes a plaque that commemorates Ottawa County’s first Congressional Medal of Honor recipient. MDOT officials plan to construct an educational terrace to educate people about local Native American culture and heritage while displaying images of artifacts found in the area during the M-231 construction.

Crockery Township Supervisor Leon Stille said he is excited about the new trail, and looks forward to the continued growth of the county’s trail network.

“Congratulations to both the county and MDOT for supporting this, and thank you very much for that support,” Stille said. “We’re delighted to be a part of it. Every time you bring more bicycles and cars to Crockery Township, we kind of smile.”

The trail’s funding came in part from the Federal Transportation Alternatives Program, administered by MDOT. This provided more than $600,000 in federal funds toward pathway construction.

Other funding partners and donors who helped make Phase I possible include: MDOT Transportation Alternatives Program, Scholten-Fant, Ottawa County, Youth Advisory Council of the Grand Haven Area Community Foundation, West Michigan Trails and Greenways Coalition, Quiet Water Society, Grand Haven Area Community Foundation, Charter Communications, Consumers Energy, Rycenga Building Center, The Loutit Foundation, Dr. and Mrs. Jeffrey D. Johnson, Shape Corp., Mr. and Mrs. John H. Nash, Ottawa County Parks and Recreation, Spoonville Gun Club, M-231 Run, Jacqueline Fisher, DALMAC Foundation, and Mr. and Mrs. Jack Fisher.

How to get involved

For more information about making a tax-deductible contribution to Phase II of the Spoonville Trail, contact the Ottawa County Planning & Performance Improvement Department at 616-738-4852 or email [email protected]

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