Idema Explorers Trail expanded

Alexander Sinn • May 13, 2019 at 12:00 PM

JENISON — Ground has broken on a new stretch of the Ottawa County trail system. 

The Idema Explorers Trail is expanding 1.17 miles along Cottonwood Drive and 10th Avenue near the Jenison business district. County parks officials said the work “sets the stage for future connections.”

Ottawa County purchased 16.5 acres of land for the expansion in January, including 651 feet of river frontage that is planned to be the first walkabout public route along the Grand River in Georgetown Township.

Officials estimated the project to cost around $463,071, with a grant from the Michigan Department of Transportation’s Transportation Alternatives Program covering about 60 percent.

The new section of trail represents ongoing expansion of the Grand River Greenway initiative in Ottawa County, a long-term effort to preserve 700 acres of land along the south side of the river. The 27-mile Idema Explorers Trail connects the Greenway lands, as the county over the next five years looks to expand that system to 35 miles.

This new connection links existing parkland, including the Bend Area and an unnamed 50-acre space north of Baldwin Street. Direct connection to the Kent County trail systems are planned near the county border.

The pathway expansion coincides with the Ottawa County Road Commission’s ongoing road reconstruction work on Cottonwood Drive.

The Greenway project includes 14 Ottawa County parks, 2,700 acres, the Grand River Water Trail, and 5,000 acres of land between Grand Haven and Grand Rapids. Officials say $1.2 million in funding is still needed to complete the initiative.

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