(Chelsea Update would like to thank Jeff Hardcastle for the information and photo in this story.)
The Huron Waterloo Pathways Initiative (HWPI) was founded in Chelsea in December, 2014. The original objective was to connect Dexter and Chelsea with an emphasis on neighborhoods, schools and business districts.
The objectives expanded to connect to the Lakelands State Trail in Stockbridge to create a 44-mile loop trail that connects to the emerging state trail system called the Iron Belle Trail.
The loop trail will require the HWPI to help build 19.5 miles of trail over several years and it’s expected to cost between $9-11 million.
The trails are generally paid from state level funds administered by MDOT and the DNR, but local money is critical in securing funding and local matching funds. The group’s local fundraising goal is $600,000.
“We are actively seeking residents as supporters which is essential to being competitive in Lansing when seeking funding,” says Jeff Hardcastle. “We are asking for $30-50 as a 1-time donation via the organization’s web site or facebook page (Huron Waterloo Pathways)
He says, “We are aligned with Legacy Land Conservancy, which serves as the group’s financial fiduciary, and provides tax exempt status and makes donations fully tax deductible.”
The group is working closely with the Chelsea Area Wellness Foundation and their 5H program and the project is endorsed by The Big 400.
Phase I of the loop has been defined as a 4-mile section from Chelsea to Territorial Road, and Phase I MDOT funding application will be submitted in November seeking about $1.7 million in funding.
We’ll be holding an open house on Oct. 21 at the Chelsea District Library. Details coming soon.