By Lonnie Huhman,
With residents wanting it to happen and it fitting in with township and county goals, the Scio Township Board took another step on Feb. 12 toward making the North Zeeb Road Shared Use Pathway a reality.
In an effort to secure $300,000 in grant funding, the township board unanimously approved a Washtenaw County Parks and Recreation Commission’s Connecting Communities Project agreement for the pathway funding.
Scio Township Manager Bryce Kelley said this adds another $300,000 toward the end goal.
In its application, Scio Township detailed some of the benefits with one being that the pathway would be the backbone for future connections. It would also link the commercial area of Jackson Road to Huron River Drive while along the way connecting to two properties, at township hall and Marshall Road, slated to be developed as parks, the Border-to-Border Trail, Scio Township Fire Station, the Washtenaw County Road Commission and Water Resources Commission offices, and the Burns-Stokes Preserve.
The path’s completion would be phase three of the project and just over a mile in length as it would cross the Huron River.
The estimated total cost of the project is $1.4 million of which $600,000 has been raised by the township through grants. The township stated one goal has been to be fiscally responsible and attempt to find additional funding sources to help pay for the big project.
“The project is budgeted at $1.4 million and spread over 2019 and 2020,” Kelley said. “While the township has the funding committed, it will also be launching a fund drive this year to support the project.”
In looking for examples of community support for the proposal, township officials cite the five-year recreation plan in which residents provided input that expressed a desire for the path.
The proposed Zeeb path would complete the route that ends at Dexter-Ann Arbor Road. It would be the township’s first completed non-motorized trail project.
The connecting communities grant program provides supplemental funding for development of non-motorized pathways or similar projects. Projects are eligible for funding if they demonstrate the ability to support the goal of connecting communities and activity centers through offering a healthy alternative for recreation, transportation, fitness and energy conservation.
The township is currently communicating with property owners and working toward getting easements to allow the pathway to head north.
In related news, the township is hosting a community park input session from 6 to 8 p.m. on Tuesday, March 5, at the Scio Township Hall, 827 N. Zeeb Road. The township is seeking public comment regarding a funding application to develop a trailhead and park on the Township Municipal Center Campus.