Although the action comes with no formal plans for improvements to the state highway, Township Manager Gordon Gallagher said the authority will likely put the township in a favorable light for future grant money.
The corridor authority covers the 1-mile stretch of M-104 between Fruitport Road and 148th Avenue.
“The basic thought is to look at things along that corridor that would be aesthetic improvements,” Gallagher said. “At the new fire station, there are some banner poles and decorative street lighting. There may be some other aesthetic things that would make sense.”
Possible improvements could include traffic-calming devices, new water and sewer lines, and bike path and pedestrian upgrades.
The township recently completed a section of bike path from Fruitport Road to Krueger Street, and extensions could be part of future plans.
“Spring Lake Townhomes are going in at the corner of 148th and M-104,” Gallagher said. “One of the things they are required to do is to put in a bike path. But the bike paths won't connect. At some point, we'd probably want to connect that.”
A township entryway/gateway at 148th Avenue and M-104 could also be on the docket.
Public input will be solicited before any changes are made.
Gallagher also noted that M-104 is a state highway and under the jurisdiction of the Michigan Department of Transportation.
“The Township Board believes setting up a corridor improvement authority helps to continue discussions,” he added.
The Michigan Economic Development Corp. sponsors a Redevelopment Ready Communities program, with many grants available. The City of Grand Haven was recently recognized as a Redevelopment Ready community, and the Village of Spring Lake is in the process of trying to become one.
Initiating a corridor improvement authority will soon become a requirement for the designation, according to Gallagher.
“This helps us to meet that redevelopment-ready certification,” he said. “We'd like to become certified as a Redevelopment Ready community because the MEDC shared with us (that) there will be a time when grant money will be tied to becoming (one). It's an important piece to becoming grant eligible.”
Gallagher said grants would not only be available for the corridor, but for all of the township.
“Come January, we'll have a new governor,” he said. “She said in her campaign that roads are important. We believe that grant money will be available over the next couple of years for road work. We also believe that the money will be available through the Redevelopment Ready Communities program.”
Gallagher said the strong industrial base on 174th Avenue would be a great place to put some road money.
“We may have a need for road improvement up in that area,” he said. “We want to be prepared so we're grant-eligible if those dollars become available. Some of that may require the State of Michigan to assist.”
Gallagher said the next step in the process will be appointing members to the authority and hosting community engagement sessions on potential corridor improvements.