Thursday, July 28, 2022

Funding for proposed recreation trail withdrawn

Al Haidous 
Wayne County Commissioner Al Haidous delivered some unwelcome news to Sumpter Township officials during the July 12 meeting.

Haidous explained that the funding for a proposed recreational trail connecting the township to a statewide biking and walking path had been markedly reduced by federal officials and the $6.22 million planned for various projects like the proposed trailway had been reduced to $2.2 million. He said the county portion of the federal grant was reduced from $2 billion to $3 million and said the project would require more funding from the local community. He asked the Sumpter officials if they would be willing to approve $250,000 for the project.

Haidous said that that the federal government had also restructured the criteria for projects that the county could fund with the limited money. To complete the proposed recreational bike and walking path, Haidous said, would require the much larger contribution from the township.

On a brighter note, Haidous said county workers had nearly completed cutting of the high weeds and maintenance around traffic signs in the township and ditches throughout the area had been cleaned and cleared. He said that for some time the county simply did not have enough employees to take  care of some of the township needs.

That has now changed, Haidous said. “Hopefully in a month or so we can do catch up and make sure citizens' requests are processed. We receive lots of calls from residents,” he said, “and often I call them back myself.”

Haidous said he would also like to see more projects coming through Sumpter Township and there is other federal recovery money available for specific projects through the American Rescue Plan Act.

“I would hate to see federal money go back because you and I could fund projects,” he told the board members.

Trustee Matt Oddy asked Haidous if the township would have the opportunity to amend the plans for the recreational pathway because the government has now amended what the funding can be used for “probably four times.”

“We are limited on things we could apply for,” he reminded Haidous.

Haidous said that “most of the time” he has been successful bringing requests for funding of projects in the communities he represents, but reiterated that $6 million reduction to $2 million for these specific grants left the county without the funding for the proposed pathway.  

“We just don't have enough money for that,” he said.