Saugatuck Township To Begin Non-Motorized Trail Work
This fall Saugatuck Township is ready to begin its section of the non-motorized trail, consisting of a stretch along the west side of Blue Star Highway from Maple Street to North Street.
The trail will include a 10-foot-wide asphalt pathway and a boardwalk bridge.
The township, at the next board meeting on Wednesday, Sept. 7 at 6 p.m., is hosting an informational meeting about the project, particularly inviting those landowners on either side of the Blue Star Highway.
The Allegan County Road Commission, the 501c3 nonprofit Friends of Blue Star Trail, and engineering consultants from Hurley & Stewart, PE are expected to be in attendance to provide the public with information.
The ambitious Blue Star Trail is proposed to provide a 20-mile, non-motorized pathway creating an uninterrupted connection between South Haven all the way to the south side of the City of Holland.
The total cost of this project is estimated at $6.1 million, but anticipated federal grants and donor pledges are expected to offset part of that pricetag.
Sections of the proposed pathway are also located in the cities of Saugatuck and Douglas.
Saugatuck officials have raised concerns about the proposed trail’s positioning and location as it relates to the city’s entrance at Lake Street at the north end of the Blue Star Highway Bridge.
First, Saugatuck officials they expressed concerns about the trail’s possible impact at and around the iconic palette sign and overall disruption of existing physical and aesthetic features.
Then, citing vehicular safety issues, they raised misgivings about Douglas’ plans to change the traffic flow at Blue Star Highway Bridge by eliminating the southbound lane in favor of a pedestrian and bicycle space.
The Douglas bridge project is a project that incorporates the Blue Star Trail, a section of the Douglas portion of it, and is being made possible by a $430,000 in a State of Michigan grant (the Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Program (CMAQ) grant that comes with a 20 percent local match).
Although hesitant at first, Saugatuck officials have provided a letter of support to Douglas for that CMAQ grant, but not without first expressing their concern via documents.
Meanwhile, Douglas officials say they will move forward with the CMAQ project.
“The design of (the traffic flow and the trail) will figure into what we are doing, said Douglas City Manager Bill LeFevere.
“How we end at the north end (the trail and bridge road reconfiguration construction) and start at the Saugatuck side will be important for everyone,” he added.