Enhancements In Store For City And County

June 7, 2002
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LANSING — The city of Grand Rapids and the county of Kent will get nearly $3.6 million worth of transportation enhancements next year. But local money will pick up a higher percentage of the tab this time around.

Six local projects are part of a $26 million statewide program recently announced by the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT). The funds will help cover the cost of building pedestrian and bicycle paths across the state, along with landscaping projects, storm water runoff mitigation and other nontraditional transportation upgrades.

“It’s impressive to see so many of our local partners pitching in to make Michigan’s transportation system look great, not just ride great,” said MDOT Director Gregory J. Rosine.

“As with road improvements, we’re counting on these projects to spur on the economy with even greater public and private investment,” added Rosine.

Local matches are needed to get the federal funds distributed by MDOT for the projects.

In the past, federal dollars have paid for about 80 percent of a local project. This time, however, communities in Michigan will pick up about 40 percent of the tab on average, and the federal money will account for around 60 percent of the costs.

The local match for the six area projects comes to slightly less than 54 percent.

The Kent County Road Commission has two projects lined up. One will build a 10-foot shoulder along 1.3 miles of Knapp Street NE in Grand Rapids Township for non-motorized use. Cost: $200,000. Local match: $110,000 from GR Township.

The road commission also will landscape John J. Oostema Boulevard from Patterson Avenue to the terminal building at Gerald R. Ford International Airport. Cost: $1.52 million. Local match: $761,100 from the road commission.

The city has three projects on the board. One is a streetscape for Wealthy Street from Eastern to Diamond avenues. Cost: $196,350. Local match: $46,000 from the city.

The city also will restore Cherry Street from Warren to Diamond avenues in the Fairmont Square Historic District. Cost: $512,760. Local match: $209,000 from the city.

The city also will build a non-motorized trail from Lyon Street Square to Bridge Street, along the east bank of the Grand River, part of the Grand River Promenade parkway. Cost: $1.14 million. Local match: $800,902 from the city.

Finally, MDOT will correct soil erosion and sedimentation problems caused by highway runoff from M-44 between Three Mile and Four Mile roads in Grand Rapids Township. Cost: $15,000. Local match: $3,000 from MDOT.

The recent announcement was the first of two that will come from MDOT during the FY03 fiscal year. The first-round projects are worth $16 million. The second-round work will be valued at $10 million.

“The high percentage of local match this time around sends a strong message that Michigan cares about its downtowns, recreational opportunities and environment,” said Rosine. “When communities invest and take pride in their surroundings, they’re rolling out the welcome mats to millions of visitors and prospective employers.”           

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