Morenci walking trail 02.24.2010

Written by David Green.

At a workshop in city hall in October 2008, a couple dozen residents met to discuss a proposed walking path that would connect Wakefield Park to Riverside Park.

The cost of the engineers’ presentation was paid through a grant from the Fay Foundation, but the project was pushed to the side due to the high cost of the project.

Morenci mayor Keith Pennington brought the walking path concept back to the forefront Monday night when he surprised council with an announcement.

A donor is willing to pay Morenci’s 30 percent match of the project if the city succeeds in obtaining a grant through the Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund.

“Someone wants to pay Morenci’s share and establish a trust fund for maintenance,” Pennington said.

Pennington said he’s met with the donor twice and explained that it’s a real financial commitment to the city and he would need evidence of commitment from the donor prior to submitting an application.

A preliminary design of the project calls for a path from Main Street north along Bean Creek. A pedestrian bridge would carry walkers into Riverside Park where the path would continue. It also calls for a loop in the path between the two parks.

With the bridge and substantial native landscaping, the project could exceed $300,000.

A public hearing is scheduled at 7:30 p.m. March 8, before the council meeting, to collect comment on the proposal and also on a proposed five-year community recreation plan.

Pennington said the donor wishes to remain anonymous at the present time.

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