Curt TerHarr of Ottawa County Parks recently reviewed with the township parks committee the plans for the Grand River Explorers Trail and the possibility of making the Mercury pathway a part of the planned trail.
“When we look at how to get from Connor Bayou to Grand Haven, it makes the most sense,” TerHarr said.
County officials hope the 30-mile Grand River Explorers Trail connects 8,500 acres of public land from Grand Haven, Grand Valley State University, Jenison, Grandville and Grand Rapids along the Grand River. The trail will integrate into West Michigan's network with connections to nine regional trails, including the new M-231 Grand River Bridge and Spoonville Trail.
Work will soon begin on a 3.9-mile segment on the north side of North Cedar Drive in Robinson Township, connecting Connor Bayou to Riverside Park. Bids were recently approved for the $1.02 million project, which includes a connection to the M-231 pedestrian crossing over the Grand River.
“That project is going to start hopefully in the first part of October,” TerHarr said. “That’s right on schedule, and we hope to have that complete for next year.”
TerHarr said that for the Mercury Drive segment, signage would be erected and maintained by Ottawa County Parks along the township’s non-motorized pathway to mark it as a part of the Explorers Trail.
“The stuff that we would add (along Mercury Drive) we would be responsible for that,” TerHarr said.
TerHarr noted that the opportunity with the Mercury Drive path is a unique collaboration.
“In Ottawa County, for the Explorers Trail, there really isn’t much of that,” he said. “This is the only major trail in Ottawa County that is there already.”
The township’s recreation and parks committee is recommending that the Grand Haven Township Board of Trustees review the proposal to include the Mercury Drive pathway as a segment of the Grand River Explorers Trail.
Township Public Services Director Mark VerBerkmoes said the county’s plan would likely be presented to the Township Board during an upcoming work session.