Township OKs Mercury Drive path agreement with county

Alex Doty • Sep 26, 2017 at 8:00 AM

GRAND HAVEN TWP. — The Ottawa County parks department has been given the go-ahead by the Grand Haven Township Board to use the non-motorized pathway along Mercury Drive as part of its planned Grand River Explorers Trail.

The Township Board voted 4-0 Monday to approve the agreement with the county to allow for the designation.

Township trustees Dave Gignac and Ron Redick and Township Clerk Laurie Larsen were absent from Monday night’s meeting.

“What we’re requesting is that the township allows us to install amenities along the trail at the cost of the (county),” said county parks planner Aaron Bodbyl-Mast.

Features along the Mercury Drive path would include wayfinding signage, benches and other trail amenities installed where feasible, Bodbyl-Mast said. These amenities, he said, would be funded and maintained by the Ottawa County Parks & Recreation Commission or Ottawa County Parks Foundation.

Officials say the Mercury Drive path is a good link for the Grand River Explorers Trail as it parallels the riverfront, provides scenic views of the river and its bayous, and offers connections to waterfront parkland property, in addition to a connection to the city of Grand Haven.

The county’s goal with the nearly 30-mile Grand River Explorers Trail is to connect 8,500 acres of public land from Grand Haven to Kent County along the Grand River. The trail will include connections to nine regional trails, including the new M-231 Grand River Bridge and Spoonville Trail.

“It would make it possible to ride from the end of the pier in Grand Haven to downtown Grand Rapids,” Bodbyl-Mast said.

Meanwhile, work will soon begin on a 3.9-mile segment of the Grand River Explorers Trail on the north side of North Cedar Drive in Robinson Township. The trail will link Connor Bayou with Riverside Park.

“That’s going to break ground any day now,” Bodbyl-Mast said.

Bids were recently approved for the $1.02 million project, which also includes a connection to the M-231 pedestrian crossing over the Grand River.

And county parks officials have their sights set on other linkages beyond the Robinson Township pathway.

“Our next focus is to build a trail from Connor Bayou to 144th Avenue,” Bodbyl-Mast said, noting that would also include a pathway over Stearns Bayou.

Bodbyl-Mast noted that there are also preliminary discussions taking place with the City of Grand Haven about having a designated Explorers Trail route through the city, along the waterfront, and out to the pier and lighthouses.


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