by CYNTHIA KMETT
It was a beautiful evening last Thursday, as the city cut the ribbon on the very first section of the Troy Trails and Parkways system they hope one day to connect all over the city.
This first section of trail is 1.3 miles long and starts right at the entrance to the Daisy Knight Dog Park on Livernois and circles behind Walsh College, Zion Christian Church, and the Water Resource Commission for Oakland County. All three of these providers of land for the trail asked for no compensation and granted the city easements, notes Troy Department of Public Works Director Kurt Bovensiep.
The trail leads out to Wattles Road, where you might have noticed the new warning spot for a pedestrian crossing. On the north side of Wattles, you can use the sidewalk to get to the Troy Historic Village, west of Livernois.
At the ribbon cutting, Mayor Dane Slater gave special thanks to those who let the city use its land for the new trail. Zion Pastor John Frankenstein noted that they were honored to be in Troy and “want to help the city to reach its full potential, and to assist in any way we can.”
He also hinted that Zion’s lead pastor, Rev. Jared Wizner, thinks adding a resting place along the trail might be something they would like to do in the future, just like they have on the Paint Creek Trail.
Building a trail system hasn’t been easy for Troy. Just this first stretch cost $600,000. Troy has some problems; it’s pretty much built out.
First, unlike other cities, we have no abandoned railway lines to use as the trail through the city. While people always say in the Parks and Rec surveys they want a walking and bike path through the city, finding the route has been tough. And, it’s an expensive project, especially if the city has to buy any land.
Back in 2009, the city used a professional trail designer, Greenway, to map out a route. That was almost a decade ago, and the cost was estimated at $9 million.
The city started to save for the trail system, putting $3 million on reserve. But then came the recession and saving the Police Department was a higher priority.
That didn’t stop the trails and pathways idea. The city went looking for a new direction. This time they hoped to win a state grant that would connect a Troy trail to the Paint Creek Trail. But when the idea was presented to residents, it was not popular. The “Not in My Backyard” folks were out in strong opposition to any stranger walking or biking near their homes.
The city submitted the plan to the state, but it was rejected because of lack of resident support. Then came a new plan. This time the city looked at using more major mile roads. This, too, was rejected by the state as too dangerous.
So today we have the first link finally open. ”It’s the best place we could have started,” Mayor Slater observed.
“It almost like we’re taking a step up north.”
Those who tried the path definitely agreed. “It’s nice – nice sidewalks and very nice views,” noted Sharon King who was walking the trail with Judy Eldred.
Brian Wattles said he was “pleasantly surprised” by how nice the trail turned out. He pointed out that they had taken it around the lake, which was very nice. He was a bit worried that all the deer would now find their way to his backyard, which is just north of Walsh College.
As Mayor Slater added, “This was the public’s number one request and we want to give them want they want.”
The rules on the trail are similar to parks, and there are no motorized vehicles allowed – just you walking or riding your bike.