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City of Jackson receives state funding to resurface MLK Equality Trail

Photograph of a section of The MLK Equality Trail in the city of Jackson. The photo shows the back of two people biking on the trail. Both people are wearing helmets and dressed in t-shirts and shorts.
City of Jackson
The City of Jackson is getting ready to rebuild part of the MLK Equality Trail thanks to funding from the Michigan Department of Natural Resources.

The City of Jackson has been awarded $300,000 from the State of Michigan to rebuild the city’s main pedestrian trail.

The MLK Equality Trail runs from downtown Jackson to Summit Township, where it links up with the Falling Water Trail. The nearly four-mile-long trail opened 30 years ago and has welcomed thousands of visitors to the area. But in the last couple of years, parts of the trail have started to deteriorate. 

City of Jackson spokesperson Aaron Dimick says the funding they’ve secured from the Michigan Department of Natural Resources will allow them to resurface two miles of the trail. 

“So, what we're planning on doing is totally replacing the pavement with a 12-foot-wide concrete trail,” he said. “And what that will do is provide a more even surface, it's going to be more accessible for people with disabilities.”

A google earth image of the MLK Equality Trail in Jackson. Over the image the following is written across different areas of the trail:  MLK Equality Reconstruction Map 1. (left -southwest part of trail) Optimist Shelter to Weatherwax: Needs funding. 2. (middle-southwest part of trail) West to Optimist Shelter 2024 3. (middle - northeast part of trail) Prospect to West 2023 4. (top right - southeast part of trail) Merriman to MLK 2023.
City of Jackson
MLK Equality Trail Reconstruction Plan Map

The trail used to be known as the “Intercity Trail” because it's widely used to connect people to the city and its surroundings.

“A lot of people use it for exercise, whether it's walking, running or biking, but a lot of people use it to get to work and school,” Dimick said. “So, it's a really big part of our non-motorized infrastructure.”

The MLK Equality Trail is also part of the state of Michigan network of trails making up the Iron Belle Trail. The Iron Belle Trail extends more than 2,000 miles from the far western tip of the Upper Peninsula to Belle Isle in Detroit.

So far, the city has secured more than $1 million in state and federal funds to reconstruct the trail and a little over $200,000 of that is coming from city funds.

"It’s not as if we're taking funding away from roads and this is a really big part of our non-motorized infrastructure,” he added. “And this will last for decades to come, it's really going to be a good investment for the community."

Dimick says construction will begin later this year on the portion of the trail from Prospect Street to West Avenue. 

As WKAR's Bilingual Latinx Stories Reporter, Michelle reports in both English and Spanish on stories affecting Michigan's Latinx community.
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