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Tri-County commission proposes a mid-Michigan regional trail network

Lansing River Trail bridge and a pile of  rocks
Alec Gerstenberger
The plan from the Tri-County Regional Planning Commission would connect the Lansing River Trail system to other major statewide trails.

Mid-Michigan residents could one day be able to take a trail from Lansing all the way through Clinton and Eaton counties without a car.

A new plan from the Tri-County Regional Planning Commission proposes creating a regional trail network. More than 90 miles of new trails would connect the Greater Lansing area with a dedicated path for pedestrians and cyclists.

Nicole Baumer, deputy director of the commission, said the trail expansions would help fill a gap in non-motorized transportation between the existing Lansing River Trail system and other major statewide trails.

Baumer said the addition would make mid-Michigan a more attractive place to live.

“We have an amazing geographic location in the state, and we really want to take advantage of that and play off our already existing assets,” Baumer said.

Baumer said it would cost over $85 million to implement the trail network. The document identifies several different sources to pay for segments of the trails, including state and local grants as well as funding from non-profit ogranizations.

She said the plan only explores the possibility of a trail network, adding it will be up to local towns and cities to implement the proposal.

“We are a planning agency, not necessarily those people that go out and fix the potholes and build the trails and pave the roads," Baumer said. "Our goal is to get funding to communities to be able to do that work."

Baumer said it would take many years to develop the regional network. She added the commission is seeking grant funding to support additional research and data analysis on the proposal.

Arjun Thakkar is WKAR's politics and civics reporter.
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