Karen McKeachie Tribute at the Governor’s Fitness Awards

A special video tribute honoring the life and legacy of Karen McKeachie will be featured at the upcoming Governor’s Fitness Awards gala. This annual Michigan Fitness Foundation event, celebrating Michigan’s leaders in health and wellness, will be begin at 6:00 PM on Thursday, April 20th at the Cobo Center in Detroit.

Click the image to watch Karen's tribute video, featuring her husband, Lew Kidder

Click the image to watch Karen’s tribute video, featuring her husband, Lew Kidder

To learn more about the life and legacy of Karen McKeachie, visit the Karen’s Trail website and the GFA 2017 Karen McKeachie Tribute page.

For more information about the 2017 Governor’s Fitness Awards gala, visit the Michigan Fitness Foundation website. Tickets for this event are still available at the time of this writing.

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Vintage Financial Services – Our Newest Heritage Sponsor

The HWPI Board is very pleased to announce a comprehensive wealth management service headquartered in Ann Arbor as a Heritage level sponsor. Vintage Financial Services has committed $100,000 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 Vintage Financial Services for their most generous support.

Frank and Jennifer Moore, owners of Vintage Financial Services, were happy to support the trail with a commitment of $100,000 in December of 2016.

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Karen’s Trail

Karen McKeachie’s death is speeding work on the B2B Trail

Lew Kidder found his memorial for his wife in plans to expand the county’s Border-to-Border Trail
Photo © Mark Bialek – Used with permission

Karen’s Trail, a recent Ann Arbor Observer article by Brynn Raupagh, delves into Lew Kidder’s efforts to honor and preserve his wife Karen’s legacy. Lew’s efforts have now meshed with the Huron Waterloo Pathways Initiative (HWPI), whose goal is to support the Washtenaw County Parks and Recreation Commission in completing an expanded Border-to-Border Trail in the next five years.

Karen McKeachie, a world-class triathlete, was killed during a training ride on Dexter-Chelsea Road in August of 2016, when the driver of a pickup truck pulled into the oncoming lane to pass another vehicle and hit her head-on. Karen’s legacy of athletic accomplishments and her role in the advancement of women’s athletics in Michigan will be honored at the upcoming Governor’s Fitness Awards on April 20th in Detroit.

Non-motorized trails, safely enjoyed by people of all ages, appear to be simple strips of pavement laid on the ground. But building these trails for current and future generations is far from simple, and building them is expensive. The Karen’s Trail article goes on to lay out the history of the Washtenaw County Border-to-Border Trail to date, and enumerates many of the financial, political, and physical hurdles that are currently being tackled by a partnership of private organizations and government agencies.

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Show Your Support for the Border-to-Border Trail

Now that spring has sprung, we invite you to show your support for HWPI’s efforts to expand the Border-to-Border Trail in Washtenaw County by sharing your trail-related photos, experiences, and how you use (or plan to use) the trail.

Include the #hwpathways hashtag with your submissions. Post them on HWPI’s Facebook page, on Instagram, or on Twitter. We’ll reshare / regram / retweet them to our large and growing base of supporters.*

Each month a submission will be randomly selected to receive a high-visibility HWPI performance tee shirt, or something equally as fun!

*Like us on Facebook and follow @hwpathways on Instagram and Twitter!

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Happy Valentine’s Day from HWPI

We wish you and your special someone Valentine’s Day greetings, and we hope you will have a chance to take advantage of this beautiful February day to share some time together, perhaps on one of the existing Border-to-Border trails!

The Karen’s Trail Campaign is HWPI’s 2017 fundraising effort, to honor the legacy of Karen McKeachie by supporting the county-wide Border-to-Border Trail System development efforts. Today would also be a wonderful day to share your love with a donation!

Donations to The Karen’s Trail Campaign can be made through imATHLETE.

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Masco Cabinetry – Our Newest Heritage Sponsor

The HWPI Board is very pleased to announce a nationwide business headquartered in Ann Arbor as a Heritage level sponsor. Masco Cabinetry has donated $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 Masco Cabinetry for their most generous support.

Masco Cabinetry manufactures three nationally recognized cabinetry brands, KraftMaid®, Merillat® and QualityCabinets®. Our company has manufacturing plants and branches/service centers located throughout the United States. Offering an unmatched selection of stylish, high-quality products at a variety of price levels, Masco Cabinetry brands are favored by builders, dealers, distributors and home centers throughout North America. A leader in environmental stewardship, Masco Cabinetry products have been granted an Environmental Stewardship Program certificate by the Kitchen Cabinet Manufacturers Association. The company is a division of Masco Corporation (NYSE: MAS), of Taylor, Mich., one of the world’s largest manufacturers of brand name consumer products for the home and family.

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The Karen’s Trail Fund Campaign

Karen McKeachie: World-class triathlete, athletic pioneer, community leader, and force of nature.

On August 29, 2016, Karen McKeachie, a 63-year-old triathlete from Ann Arbor, was killed on Dexter-Chelsea Road doing one of the things she loved: riding her bike. The volunteers of the Huron Waterloo Pathways Initiative, along with the entire community, were shocked and deeply saddened by the news of this tragic accident, just a few miles from our homes.

We learned much about the amazing and inspiring life that Karen led when, a few weeks after the accident, Lew Kidder, Karen’s husband of 37 years, reached out to the HWPI chairperson, Jeff Hardcastle. Lew had heard of our group’s efforts to develop new, non-motorized pathways throughout Washtenaw County, and he graciously invited us to be a part of honoring Karen’s life and legacy.

Surrounded by family and friends, Lew is announcing The Karen’s Trail Fund campaign on imATHLETE, a year-long effort to raise funds that will match generous gifts from Lew and from Karen’s family. These gifts and the funds raised will support the development of new pathways in Washtenaw county’s Border-to-Border trail system in ways that will honor Karen’s life and legacy by expanding safe, recreational opportunities for everyone in the region.

You can learn more about Karen McKeachie at the Karen’s Trail website. We’ll also be posting regular updates on Lew’s campaign here.

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Huron Waterloo Pathways Initiative Year End Appeal

Progress Toward Phase 1 Construction in 2017

It has been an exciting year for everyone involved in the HWPI and B2B trail development effort. We have made substantial progress toward getting Phase 1 (4.7 miles from Werkner Road to North Territorial) of “The Loop” trail system built. We’ve secured the necessary funding commitments from the state, raised two-thirds of the private match funding required, and have the majority of the engineering completed. We are working feverishly to get this segment of the trail built in 2017. While the timeline for the remaining tasks (complete engineering, numerous permits, and bid process) is tight for 2017, we believe we have a fighting chance to get it done next year!

Chelsea-Dexter Connection Update

We have also begun work on design and engineering of the Chelsea-Dexter Connection along the Boland right-of-way that generally follows the Dexter-Chelsea Road corridor. All along, we’ve been hoping to begun construction there in 2018 or 2019. However, there have been some significant developments over the past six months that might create an opportunity for construction on parts of that segment in 2017 as well. We’ll know more over the next sixty days, so stay tuned!

Private Funding Requirements

As we get closer to groundbreaking opportunities, the need to fulfill our private funding requirements intensifies. We’re still approximately $300,000 short of the required private funding for Phase 1, and we will need additional private funding to begin work on the Chelsea-Dexter Connection.

HWPI Year End Appeal

If you support the work being done by HWPI and are looking for additional deductions before year-end, we promise to put your charitable dollars to work quickly, on trails that Michiganders and visitors to our great state will enjoy using for generations to come! All contributions to HWPI are fully tax-deductible for both federal and state income taxes.

Thanks for all the help in 2016. May you and your family have a joyous holiday season!

Ways to Contribute

You can make an online donation to HWPI on the Support HWPI page of our website, or you can download a Supporter Pledge Form and mail it, along with your check, to our fiduciary partner, Legacy Land Conservancy, at the address below:

Huron Waterloo Pathways Initiative
c/o Legacy Land Conservancy
1100 N. Main St. #203
Ann Arbor, MI 48104

All donations received before January 1, 2017 will be fully tax-deductible on your 2016 tax returns. You will receive a paper receipt in the mail for your tax records.

Winter Hiking Trail

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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.

bad_pothole

Photo Credit: CCBY2.0 DDohler on Flickr

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