A group in the Brooklyn/Lake Columbia area is working on developing a new non-motorized path.  The group says the path would “allow for safe travel to, from and between the schools and connect the Lake Columbia and Clark Lake areas to the Village of Brooklyn.  The path is estimated to be between 2.5 to 3 miles in length and, to the extent possible, would use existing sidewalks in the village.”   Committee member Chuck Falahee says “the proposed path runs down Hewitt from the high/middle school to Turk, then down Turk to Cement City Road and from there into the Village of Brooklyn.”

The project has been under development for several years. By connecting the schools, the project is eligible for a Safe Route to Schools (SRTS) grant which would cover $900,000 of the cost.  The Jackson County Department of Transportation (JCDOT) has agreed to undertake the grant application and engineering for the project.  The engineering costs, about $100,000, won’t be covered by the grant and must be paid “up front.”

The group is asking for donations to cover the engineering costs which can be made through the Irish Hills Community Legacy, PO Box 805, Brooklyn, MI 49230.  It’s possible that Columbia Township may contribute to the project.

Who pays for the SRTS grant?  The Michigan Fitness Foundation’s Colleen Synk says they are “from federal funds that are dispersed from the Federal Highway Administration to Michigan Department of Transportation. Michigan Fitness Foundation administers the funds for mini grants and major grants non-infrastructure programming to encourage walking, biking and rolling to school.”

Committee members include Chuck Falahee, Jae Guetschow, and Tim O’Neil.