For Immediate Release
Contact: Lauren Herrin
FUNDING SECURED FOR TWO DOWNRIVER GREENWAYS
Construction slated to begin this fall
Trenton, Mich., June 27, 2014 – Construction of two greenways in the Downriver region of southeast Michigan is expected to begin this fall. Both projects are being championed as part of a regional initiative to link communities, residents, and visitors through greenways trails called the Downriver Linked Greenways Initiative (DLGI).
DLGI represents 21 communities striving to create a non-motorized trail system throughout the southern portion of southeast Michigan. To date, more than $12 million has been invested in more than 50 miles of continuous pathways, linking four major metropolitan metro parks.
In the first project, $900,000 has been secured from two sources: Wayne County, through its park millage, and the Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund (MNRTF). The funds will be used for a greenway trail and shoreline habitat improvements at Wayne County’s Elizabeth Park – Michigan’s oldest county park.
Elizabeth Park is a nearly 100-year-old, 162-acre, island park in the lower Detroit River in Trenton. Elizabeth Park visitors are known to picnic, fish and enjoy a variety of other outdoor recreational activities, regardless of the season. It also is the home of major events hosted by Wayne County such as Jazz on the River, Somewhere in Time and international fishing tournaments.
The park improvements will include the construction of a 4,000-feet, 10-foot wide greenway trail within Elizabeth Park and canal shoreline habitat restoration. Work will include the use of soft shoreline engineering techniques to: stabilize the shores of the canal, enhance habitat for fish and wildlife, minimize flooding and erosion through a number of initiatives, remove invasive plant species, construct five fishing platforms and improve access for canoeing and kayaking. In addition, the project will provide a link, via Riverside Street, to Trenton’s Central Business District, its three riverfront parks and other points north.
“We want to maintain and enhance one of Wayne County’s true gems, Elizabeth Park in Trenton,” said Wayne County Executive Robert Ficano. “We greatly appreciate the support from MNRTF and place a high value on providing recreational, educational and social opportunities for our citizens and the public through the many programs offered by Wayne County Parks.”
The second project will connect Elizabeth Park and the Grosse Ile Parkway Bridge to the Refuge Gateway of the Detroit River International Wildlife Refuge via a 5,000-foot-long, 10-foot-wide greenway trail along Jefferson Avenue. The Refuge Gateway, located where the Refuge Visitor Center is under construction, will be built in the Wayne County right-of-way and is adjacent to Humbug Marsh – Michigan’s only “Wetland of International Importance.”
Funding is coming from the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Lands Access Program (FLAP), which was established to improve public access to and through federal lands, like the Refuge’s Humbug Marsh adjacent to the Refuge Gateway. Monies secured for this project are as follows:
• $320,000 from FLAP, which is being managed and coordinated by the City of Trenton
• $80,000 from U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
• $5,000 from DTE Energy Foundation
• $20,000 of in-kind engineering and oversight support from the City of Trenton
The Detroit River International Wildlife Refuge extends along the shoreline of the Detroit River and western Lake Erie, and focuses on conserving, protecting, and restoring habitats for 30 species of waterfowl, 117 kinds of fish, and more than 300 species of birds. Unique habitats being managed in the refuge include islands, coastal wetlands, marshes, shoals and riverfront lands.
To date, 7,897 acres of Michigan Department of Natural Resources lands and 5,787 acres of lands owned and/or cooperatively managed by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service have been placed on a U.S. registry of lands for the refuge. In addition, 3,797 acres of Essex Region Conservation Authority lands and 981 acres of City of Windsor lands that have been placed on a Canadian registry of lands for the refuge. When totaled between Canada and the U.S., 18,462 acres of land in southwest Ontario and southeast Michigan are now being managed collaboratively for conservation and outdoor recreation in the spirit and intent of the 2001 Conservation Vision and the Detroit River International Wildlife Refuge.
Both projects will expand DLGI’s north/south connector and connect communities with unique destinations like Elizabeth Park and the Refuge Gateway.
“These two endeavors are vital to the region as they will help protect natural resources, improve public access to federal lands of the Detroit River International Wildlife Refuge, and enhance outdoor recreational opportunities for Wayne County residents and many visitors,” said Anita Twardesky, Downriver Linked Greenways Initiative co-chair and community outreach coordinator for Riverside Kayak Connection.
“The number one initiative for future consideration, based on public input received during the planning process for the Trenton Parks and Recreation Master Plan, was the development of more walking and biking trails and paths,” added Trenton Parks and Recreation Director Joann Gonyea. “This project will provide Trenton residents a non-motorized trail connecting Trenton to the Refuge Gateway of the Detroit River International Wildlife Refuge, Elizabeth Park, and four regional metro parks consisting of 6,000 acres of park land.”