The first week of February marks the start of construction for an extension of Northern Tier Trail that will reach into the border of Meridian Township.
This extension will reconstruct 2,100 feet of pathway to the already 4.8-mile Northern Tier Trail, weaving through White Park and connecting the trail from Pebblebrook Lane to the intersection of Lake Lansing Road and Birch Row Drive, according to a statement from the City of East Lansing.
An additional 1,250-foot pathway will connect the Lake Lansing Road parking lot to both the trail within the park and the Lake Lansing/Birch Row intersection, and an 800-foot hard surface pathway will extend the trail along Towar Avenue to the Meridian Township border, according to the statement.
Moving forward, the extended trail presents opportunity to bring new visitors to all areas of the park. With the installation of a boardwalk and new pathways, parkgoers will be able to access natural areas previously inaccessible.
“If you use an ambulatory assistance device of some sort or if you have difficulty navigating uneven terrain, you’ll be able to get to sections of the park where you couldn’t previously,” East Lansing Parks, Recreation and Arts Assistant Director Wendy Wilmers Longpre said.
Longpre said children from the adjacent school district will likewise have more ways to be involved, with the new hard surface trail offering opportunity for both recreational benefits and educational endeavors.
Featured improvements to the White Park Pond under the natural features enhancement portion of the project include correcting bank erosion, removing siltation and invasive plant species and restocking the pond with small game fish, according to the statement. Additionally, park benches, trail signs, trash bins and recycling bins will be installed throughout the park to enhance accessibility and contribute to a more welcoming park environment.
The City of East Lansing received $469,000 in Ingham County Trails and Parks Millage funding and a $300,000 Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund grant from the Michigan Department of Natural Resources for the project in 2017. This comes from a near 70% voter approval on the Ingham County Trails and Parks Millage in 2014, highlighting support for improvements from the local community, according to the City of East Lansing website.
“We are extremely excited to see this project get underway and are appreciative of the funding support we have received to make this project a reality,” East Lansing Parks, Recreation and Arts Director Tim McCaffrey said in a press release.
The Lake Lansing Road parking lot will be closed for the duration of the project.
The expected completion date for the trail extension is August 2020 and the natural features enhancement portion of the project will be completed by fall.