Sen. Emmons: Six mid-Michigan projects included in Natural Resources Trust Fund bill signed by governor

LANSING? Gov. Rick Snyder has signed legislation authorizing more than $1.1 million in grants from the Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund to support more than $3.96 million in mid-Michigan acquisition and development projects, said Sen. Judy Emmons.

“These six projects will create jobs and make mid-Michigan a better place to live, work and raise a family,” said Emmons, R-Sheridan. “Improving our outstanding parks and outdoor recreational opportunities will help us attract families and entrepreneurs to the region. This measure dedicates more than $1.1 million to help fund six projects, including improvements to the Robert Lee Davis Memorial Park in Montcalm County and construction of two rail-trails.”

Public Act 283 of 2012 authorizes the trust fund to spend $38 million to support 99 acquisition and development projects in 48 counties. The total investment is more than $65 million when $27 million in matching funds are included. The trust fund dollars are constitutionally restricted for natural resource improvements across the state.

The largest mid-Michigan projects are for more than $3.2 million in developments of rail-trail. The act provides $300,000 in trust fund dollars toward Ionia County’s $1.6 million construction of 5 miles of the Fred Meijer Grand River Valley Rail-Trail.

A separate $300,000 grant will go toward a $1.6 million development by the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) of 8 miles of the Fred Meijer Clinton-Ionia-Shiawassee Rail-Trail through Muir, Pewamo, Fowler, St. Johns and Ovid. The two trails will connect east of Ionia. The Fred Meijer Foundation has donated a $3 million endowment for the trails’ maintenance.

Emmons said other projects in the 33rd Senate District to receive funding include:

• $132,300 toward $179,400 in improvements to the Robert Lee Davis Memorial Park in McBride, including a restroom, playground equipment, accessible parking and walkways and a new nature trail;
• $59,000 for a $80,000 construction of a wooden fishing pier on First Lake and a parking lot in Belvidere Township Park in Montcalm County;
• $200,000 for a $300,000 improvement of the Lake Odessa Municipal Beach, including a universally accessible floating dock and new walkways;
• $85,200 for a $120,300 development of the Pewamo Trailhead in Ionia County, featuring a pavilion, restrooms and parking; and
• $40,000 toward an $80,000 acquisition of 4.2 acres to connect Park Lake Preserves to Park Lake Road for a future nature/walking trail in Clinton County’s Bath Township.

The trust fund is a restricted fund established in 1976. It provides a funding source for public acquisition of lands for resource protection and outdoor recreation. Revenue is derived from royalties on the sale and lease of state-owned mineral rights. In 1985, voters made the trust fund part of Michigan’s Constitution, ensuring the program’s future.

Since its creation, the fund has awarded more than $900 million for land acquisition and public outdoor recreation development projects for communities in every county.

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