Thursday, February 17, 2022

Sumpter agrees to consider $6.5 million bicycle path

Sumpter Township Trustees have agreed to entertain the concept of a $6.5 million bicycle/pedestrian path in the community.

Trustee Don LaPorte told his fellow board members that he had suggested the idea of a bike bath connecting Sumpter Township to other paths eventually leading to Lower Huron Metro Park to Wayne County officials “sometime last winter.” He said he received a response recently from the county stating that the Sumpter proposal is on the “top of the county's list.”

The 13.5 miles of bike and pedestrian path would be funded by federal American Recovery Act funding administered by the county.

“We don't get to say we want the $6.5 million for another project. The county takes the money and builds the pedestrian/bike path,” he said.  LaPorte said that his understanding was that the township portion of the project, if it were to come to fruition, would be about $250,000. 

“That would be the township's skin in the game for a $6.5 million project,” he said.

LaPorte reiterated that an approval of the concept during the meeting would not obligate the township in any way to the project and that the issue was conceptual only.

“I believe it is a huge benefit for the community,” he said. “If we move forward, we will have more specifics.  I was told that this is one of the biggest projects ever submitted by Sumpter Township to the county.”

Deputy Supervisor/Trustee Tim Rush noted that prior to any commitment from the township for such an extensive project, there would be public hearings and much more information provided.

“The resolution does not approve anything. There would be public hearings and public comments. It's too early to answer questions. We shouldn't even be discussing it at this time,” he said in response to a question from the audience.

LaPorte agreed and noted that the township could back out of the arrangement at any time.

“I don't know why you would want to,” he said.

Trustee Matt Oddy inquired if the proposed trail would involve Van Buren Township and the City of Belleville. 

“The suggested pathway shows going up there so I just wondered,” he said.

LaPorte said there was an email address created to answer questions. He said the account has been turned over to the DPW to monitor and manage and that the email address would be posted on the city web page.

“This is conceptual. The county did not want to go any further without us approving the ideology of it tonight,” he said.

The motion to accept the concept was approved by a 5-1 vote with Supervisor Tim Bowman excused and Trustee Peggy Morgan casting the no vote.