Connecting Communities

Connecting Communities works with the Border to Border trails.

Promoting Non-Motorized Trail Development in Washtenaw County

Poster Promoting Connecting Communities InitiativeThroughout its history, the Washtenaw County Parks and Recreation Commission has been a significant proponent of the development of non-motorized trails within the community. This position stems from both a commitment to the importance of non-motorized trails and an understanding of the interests and priorities expressed by community members. Respondents to a survey of County residents conducted to identify recreation needs and associated priorities assigned the highest priority to the development of non-motorized trails - 71% of total respondents. Non-motorized trails represent an important opportunity for recreation and a sustainable transportation alternative.

Development of a County-wide non-motorized trail network is a larger task than any single community or organization can assume. This larger network requires a multi-agency/organization effort. The trail route passes through a number of communities and crosses land owned by many individuals and organizations. Many of the trail segments will be, or already have been, developed by the community within which they are located. Much more work, though, remains to be done.

The Washtenaw County Parks and Recreation Commission has made significant investments in non-motorized trails within the last 10 years. Continuing that commitment, the Commission is pledging approximately 20% of its development millage over the next 5 years for further development of non-motorized trails. In order to maximize its resources and assist communities with their own trail projects, the Washtenaw County Parks and Recreation Commission is establishing a new initiative V Connecting Communities. Through this new initiative, WCPARC will make available up to $600,000 each year during the 2010 - 2014 period ($3 million in total) toward the cost of eligible projects.

The intent of the Connecting Communities initiative is to work in partnership with other communities and organizations, providing funds to supplement those provided or obtained by the partner organization. Funding will be available only for construction, not for planning or design development. Eligible projects will be those that accomplish the Commissions primary goal of providing valuable, non-motorized connections between communities and activity centers thus offering a healthy alternative for recreation, transportation, fitness and energy conservation.

An application form and selection criteria for the Connecting Communities program was recently mailed to each municipality in the county. Stay tuned for upcoming projects.

Tom Freeman, Deputy Director
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