Island Hills Sidewalk Dedication

20161028_island_hills_sidewalk_ceremony_025A list of ribbon-cutting members present: Brian, Melanie, Brock, and Colin McIntyre, Barb and Keith Watkins, Ken and Judi Tappe, Kathy Wilker (came later, not pictured), Nikki, Eric, and Delaney Dabkowski (Nikki & Delaney not pictured), Cherise Callahan (came later, not pictured), Meagan and Eric Connell

About the 500′ Island Hills Sidewalk Project

by Eric Connell

In 2014, amid growing frustration regarding pedestrian safety and documented “close calls” with speeding traffic along Island Lake Road, several homeowners brought up a sidewalk proposal to the Island Hills Homeowners Association. A unanimous vote of support left the idea in the hands of a volunteer homeowner — with the goal of building a sidewalk along Island Lake Road; connecting the Island Hills neighborhood to existing sidewalk infrastructure in the City of Dexter.

The project was initiated through discussions with the Road Commission and by collecting bids from recommended contractors. The limited budget of the neighborhood association was insufficient to cover the total project cost, so outside help was essential to achieving the improvement to walkability and safety.

The neighborhood’s close proximity to the Border to Border (B2B) trail was a catalyst for starting discussion with the Huron Waterloo Pathways Initiative (HWPI) group, as the sidewalk gives homeowners a safe, well-marked, walkable route from the subdivision entrance to the B2B Trail. This sidewalk ‘spur’ extends the B2B to the west, and is heavily used by homeowners in the neighborhood and by residents of nearby neighborhoods enjoying the pathway. Without the financial support of the HWPI and the 5HealthyTowns Foundation, this project likely would not have happened. It’s a true success story of perseverance and the desire of residents to have increased non-motorized recreation options!

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Road & Path Millage Information

On November 8th, Washtenaw County voters will have the opportunity to vote on a four-year road and non-motorized path millage. HWPI is providing information about this ballot initiative so voters may make an informed decision.

  • The proposed 0.5 mill tax would essentially extend the similar 2016 road millage. Property owners would not see a tax increase due to this initiative.
  • Eighty percent of the revenue generated would fund road work in Washtenaw County. Twenty percent of the revenue would support the county’s growing non-motorized pathways network.

Additional information on this initiative can be found on the Washtenaw County Road Commission website at http://www.wcroads.org/millage.

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Photo Credit: CCBY2.0 DDohler on Flickr

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Sponsors Help HWPI Achieve Saint Joseph $125k Match

On October 12, 2016, HWPI hosted a reception at the Chelsea Wellness Center to thank our sponsors for their generosity. HWPI Chair, Jeff Hardcastle announced that we had achieved the criteria for receiving a $125,000 match contribution from the Saint Joseph Mercy Health System. This match contribution is in addition to the direct contribution of the same amount that HWPI received  from St. Joe’s in 2015.

Jeff opened the reception by saying, “This summer, HWPI completed the match that the Saint Joseph Mercy Health System set up for us last fall. The match was a part of St. Joe’s overall gift of a quarter of a million dollars. Half of that gift was a direct contribution. The other hundred and twenty-five thousand dollars was a matching contribution, based on HWPI receiving an equivalent amount from other sponsors within a one-year period. Due to the generosity of the people in this room, and others, we have jump-started a trail development project to a level that other groups have taken many years to achieve.

L to R: Jeff Hardcastle – HWPI, Nancy Graebner and Rob Casalou, Saint Joseph Mercy Health System

Jeff concluded his remarks by saying, “There’s a good chance, based on the progress we’ve made so far and continuing success with private fundraising, that we will see nine miles of new trail on the ground by 2018. We hope to have construction started on two sides of Chelsea, one headed north and one headed east [toward Dexter], by this time next year. I want to thank Rob [Casalou] and Nancy [Graebner] from St. Joe’s for their early commitment, which really added momentum to our efforts.”

Rob Casalou responded, graciously acknowledging Jeff’s leadership in HWPI’s efforts. “Jeff, we want to thank you, too. Without your leadership of this initiative, we would not be standing here today. I remember when Amy [Heydlauff] had Jeff come to the Chelsea Wellness / 5 Healthy Towns board. I was sold. You sold it to me, right then and there. I don’t want us to leave without thanking you. You’re passionate about it, and you’re effective at pulling us all together, and I wanted to acknowledge that.”

To which, Jeff humbly replied, “Thank you, Rob. But I’m just the front man. We’ve got a bunch of great people working on and supporting this effort!!!”

Representatives from many of HWPI’s current sponsors gave Jeff, Rob, and Nancy an enthusiastic round of applause, and then gathered for a group photo.

Back row, L to R: Dennis Bauer – Chelsea Lumber, Sue Bauer – Chelsea Lumber, Peter Feeney – The Feeney Family, Terri McCalla – Chelsea Lumber, James Alford, MD – IHA, Amy Middleton – IHA, David Hughes – Vanston/O’Brien, Inc., Rob Casalou – Saint Joseph Mercy Health System, Dick McCalla – Chelsea Lumber, Howdy Holmes – Chelsea Milling Company, Tom Bloom – Bloom Roofing, Nancy Graebner – Saint Joseph Mercy Health System, Mike Lee – Ann Arbor Bicycle Touring Society, Mark Heydlauff – Heydlauff’s Appliances, John Gardner, MD – IHA, Jeff Hardcastle – HWPI / Hardwood Solutions
Front row, L to R: Amy Heydlauff – 5 Healthy Towns Foundation, Susan Brown – Chelsea Rotary, Laura Hughes – Vanston/O’Brien, Inc., Beth Trollman – Bloom Roofing, Anne Nauts – Chelsea Rotary, John Mann – Chelsea State Bank

Representatives from HWPI sponsors, The Common Grill, Bank of Ann Arbor, Green Tree Pediatrics, and Staffan-Mitchell Funeral Home were unable to attend this reception.

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Vanston/O’Brien, Inc. – Our Newest Pathway Sponsor

The HWPI Board is very pleased to announce a leading Dexter area business as a Pathway level sponsor. Vanston/O’Brien, Inc. has committed $7,500 in support of the HWPI vision to develop new multi-use pathways connecting our local communities. Please join HWPI in extending a sincere thank-you to this fine organization and to their employees.

Visit the Vanston/O’Brien, Inc. website here.

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Heydlauff’s Appliances – Our Latest Pathway Sponsor

The HWPI Board is very pleased to announce another leading Chelsea business as a Pathway level sponsor. Heydlauff’s Appliances has committed $7,500 in support of the HWPI vision to develop new multi-use pathways connecting our local communities. Please join HWPI in extending a sincere thank-you to Mark and Amy Heydlauff and to their employees.

Visit Heydlauff’s Appliances website, or visit the store at 113 N. Main Street in Chelsea.

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The Common Grill – Our Newest Heritage Sponsor

The HWPI Board is very pleased to announce another leading Chelsea business as a Heritage level sponsor. The Common Grill has committed $25,000 in support of the HWPI vision to develop new multi-use pathways connecting our local communities. Please join HWPI in extending a sincere thank-you to Proprietor and Executive Chef, Craig Common, and to his wonderful staff.

From Craig Common: “The Common Grill has been part of this community for twenty-five years, and we have always been supportive of anything that would strengthen our community. We feel that supporting the Huron Waterloo Pathways Initiative makes sense in pursuing excellence in our surrounding area. We are proud to be a Heritage Sponsor. Thank you.”

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Phase 1 Design Engineering Walk Through

Phase 1 stakeholders gathered at the historic Lyndon Twp Hall. L to R: Chuck Dennison (MDNR), Eric Stalhandske (HWPI), Matt MacDonell (WCRC), Amanda Ballard (Sun Times News), Patrick Judd (Stantec Engineering), Bart Hammer (HWPI), Nicole VanBloem (MDNR)

September 7, 2016: Phase 1 stakeholders gathered at the historic Lyndon Township Hall for a walking review of the Phase 1 design engineering. L to R: Chuck Dennison (MDNR), Eric Stalhandske (HWPI), Matt MacDonell (WCRC), Amanda Ballard (Sun Times News), Patrick Judd (Stantec Engineering), Bart Hammer (HWPI), Nicole VanBloem (MDNR)

On May 16, 2016, HWPI secured a conditional commitment from the Michigan Department of Transportation for ~$1.8M to build Phase 1 of The Loop, a 4.7 mile trail segment starting from M-52 and Werkner Road and going north to North Territorial Road. We are working to raise the private matching funds to turn this conditional commitment into a grant, so that construction can begin in the spring of 2017.

In anticipation of successful private matching fund raising, HWPI has contracted with Stantec Engineering to do the design engineering for Phase 1 in the fall of 2016. Detailed engineering design views, shown in segments from Werkner Road to North Territorial Road along the M-52 corridor, can be seen on the Trail Projects page.

On September 7, 2016, a small group of stakeholders participated in a design engineering walk through of Phase 1, led by Stantec Engineering’s Senior Landscape Architect, Patrick Judd. The primary goal of the walk through was to review the revised trail alignment, with emphasis on design features that addressed indigenous and invasive flora, challenging topographical features, ADA compliance requirements, and the location and configuration of a grade-level crossing of M-52.

Click on any of the walk through photos below for captions, and to view them full size in a slideshow carousel. Detailed engineering design views of the current Phase 1 trail alignment can be seen on the Trail Projects page.

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Chelsea Lumber Co. Commits $25,000 to HWPI

The HWPI Board is very pleased to announce another leading Chelsea business as a Heritage level sponsor. Chelsea Lumber Co. has committed $25,000 in support of the HWPI vision to develop new multi-use pathways connecting our local communities. Please join HWPI in extending a sincere thank-you to this excellent organization and to their employees.

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Chelsea Lumber Co. is one of the oldest and largest lumber and building supply companies in Michigan. We have three stores located in Chelsea, Saline and Bridgewater with over 100 employees to serve you. More then ever before, Chelsea Lumber Co. is a vital resource for “do-it-yourself” homeowners and building contractors throughout Washtenaw County and all of Southeast Michigan.  Our customers come from Jackson, Lansing, Brighton, Plymouth, the Detroit area and more.

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HWPI at Dexter Daze Festival 2016

The HWPI tent will be at Dexter Daze this coming Friday and Saturday! Stop by and say hello to our friendly folks and get the latest exciting details on our non-motorized trail development efforts.

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We’ll be down in Mill Creek Park, right beside the Border-to-Border trail. Looking forward to seeing you at the 44th Annual Dexter Daze Festival!

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HWPI at the Pumpkinvine Bike Ride

Pumpkinvine Nature Trail Cookie Stop

Pumpkinvine Nature Trail Cookie Stop

Three HWPI Board Members and eleven of their friends traveled to Goshen, Indiana last weekend to participate in the 17th Annual Pumpkinvine Nature Trail ride. We had perfect weather for this excellent event, and experienced wonderful hospitality, great food, and beautiful farmland.

Pumpkinvine Nature Trail Cookie Stand

Pumpkinvine Nature Trail Cookie Stand

Only a 2-1/2 hour drive from Washtenaw County, we would encourage everyone to experience the Pumpkinvine Nature Trail and to sign up for next year’s event. Sign up early so you can get in on the Friday night dinner ride, and have an amazing family-style Amish meal!

Find out more about this great trail and organization at the Friends of the Pumpkinvine Nature Trail website.

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