Flint, MI–The Flint City Council voted 8-1 to approve the purchase of 47 acres of land for the Grand Traverse Greenway Trail at the meeting Wednesday night.
The new trail will serve as a walkway and bike path, stretching three miles from the southern boundary of Flint up to the Flint River by Kearsley street.
This trail will also be the last link in Genesee County of the Iron Belle Trail which connects Bell Isle in Detroit to Ironwood in Michigan’s upper peninsula.
The total purchase price for the land is $525,000.
$521,000 of that amount comes from a grant provided by the Michigan Department of Natural Resources for the purpose of land acquisition.
Approximately $3,400 came from the Flint Planning and Developments general fund.
Director of the Department of Development and Planning Suzanne Wilcox said that this project has been ten years in the making.
“The Department of Natural Resources has been working with us for a long time to try and work through the negotiation details with CSX and we’ve been able to do that which is a significant accomplishment, I think, and a testament to the staff who have been working on it really diligently for the past couple years,” Wilcox said.
While that money only covers the purchase of that land, Wilcox said there are “fundraising efforts underway for the actual implementation.”
She said that the Choice Neighborhoods Program is providing funding for implementation and the C.S. Mott Foundation has indicated they’re interested in funding the project as well.
“My position is this: we gotta do more for all parts of town and this is an example of how stuff and studies can be put together,” said Councilman Eric Mays.
Councilman Allan Griggs was the only vote against the approval of this purchase. He expressed safety concerns and said residents have complained about the walking trails already in place.
“I’m getting a lot of complaints from constituents about these trails,” he said. “There’s robberies going on on them. They need to be policed. I don’t feel good at all about even voting for this because we can’t even police our existing trails as it is.”
Councilwoman Eva Worthing agreed that policing “is something for us to ask about and ensure that there’s safety in those trails” but that she is “looking forward to using them.”
Wilcox said that once they purchase the land, she “would love to talk more about public safety.”
“We’re certainly always trying to make the trails safe for our residents,” she said. “The safer they are, the more people will use it.”
This purchase agreement brings the $3 million dollar project one step closer to construction which is set to begin next year.