Wayland wins one park grant, misses trail grant

Virginia Ransbottom, Staff Writer

A splash pad will be added to Wayland City Park after city manager Mike Selden announced the city was approved for a $45,000 Department of Natural Resources Passport grant that will also fund resurfacing of the basketball court and provide new playground equipment.

That was the good news. Selden also said he had bad news for council members at their Monday, Dec. 15 meeting.

The Natural Resources Trust Fund turned down a grant application for $723,000 to fund paving the 1.2-mile abandoned interurban railway as a bike trail in Wayland, although $262,000 in matching funds was approved by MDOT for the project.

The trail would eventually link the Kent County trail system to the Kalamazoo River Valley Trail (which connects to the Kal-Haven trail); however, Wayland was the first municipality in the missing link to apply for funding.

Mayor pro-tem Jennifer Antel said Allegan County is the only segment from Battle Creek to Cadillac that is missing. While other communities in the county have given letters of support and a plan has been developed from Wayland to Shelbyville, trail and greenway advocacy groups have been working with the governor’s office on a master plan for trail connectivity between the areas.

Selden said starting in the middle of the trail gave the project less appeal; however, the DNR grant coordinator gave some advice on how to strengthen the application and the MDOT matching grant could be used if approved in next year’s funding.

For full story, pick up a copy of the Dec. 18 issue of The Allegan County News or subscribe to the e-edition.

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