Ranger Rick: Recreation trail is too costly for Wayland

I notice all the talk lately about a walking, running, and biking trail from Kalamazoo to Grand Rapids.

Most people encouraging its creation cite more exercise, fresh air, and tourism enticement for downtown businesses. But let’s critically examine the motivation and practicality of a paved trail, at least the Wayland portion

There are supposedly many supporters for the trail. The whole idea is to have a paved trail from Kalamazoo to Grand Rapids. So where is all the support for all the areas where this trail will reside?

All those areas in between are big question marks. How many communities and townships are willing to shell out more precious tax money on a trail when roads need more attention because of wear and tear?  The vast majority of those taxpayers will never set foot on the trail but you want all to contribute for a road to nowhere?

I know the cry will be “we’ll get a grant from the state” — You do realize grant money is tax revenue? And the grant money only is seed money, the vast majority will come from local taxpayers. There will be planning, excavation, right if way costs, paving, maintenance, and possibly security costs to ensure safety on the trail.

So this will not be a one time cost and dropped. It will be the gift that will need to keep giving. Any idea how much just the Wayland portion from Dahlia Street to 133rd will cost?

So if the folks from Wayland decide to support the trail, what are the other townships south and north of Wayland planning to do? Do they have enthusiastic support for the trail? I doubt they can convince the already stressed taxpayers to shell out extra money for a trail when their own local roads are in disrepair.

I ask supporters of this trail to look hard at all the costs, and if they still wish to pursue, what are they willing to cut out of the budget to accommodate this trail, because the little town of Wayland is taxed to the maximum, it is the highest taxed town in Allegan County, as the author of TB has acknowledged.


  • Perhaps you need to realize grant money is there because its been allocated and a budgeted item. Because its there this year doesn’t mean it will be available next year. Grant monies are very specific so municipality can’t apply for a grant to build a portion of a bike/pedestrian path, get that grant and turnaround and buy more antique light posts for downtown or a parking lot.

    Its important to make sure all parties along the trail get the grants and the trail is complete in 2-3 years so riders/runners can travel from GR to Wayland. to Kalamazoo.

    If folks want Wayland to whither and die keep on refusing grant monies available and eventually Wayland will be nothing more than the exit people drive past on their way to the casino south of town or drive past traveling to GR. Wayland and other communities along the bike path will see hundreds of more people from GR and Kalamazoo if the city takes the grant money with the understanding the rest of the trail will be completed.

  • Couchman — What you do not realize is how many private leases there are along the interurban where driveways cross, property is owned on both sides of the interurban. Agricultural tractors cross it all the time. If you think a farmer is going to drive a mile out of his way to cross the trail on a road, I don’t think that is going to happen.

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