By Mark Lelle, Calhoun County Trailway Alliance
December 5, 2019
The City of Albion has been awarded a $10,000 grant from the Marshall Community Foundation towards construction of the final section of the Albion River Trail in 2020.
Albion River Trail construction in 2020 moves Albion and Marshall one step closer to being connected by trail.
The trail will follow along the south side of Michigan Avenue on the west side of Albion and will extend to the city’s industrial park. This section is part of the Calhoun County Trailway and is also a critical component of the plan to physically and symbolically link Marshall and Albion by trail.
According to Shannon Tiernan, Executive Director of the Marshall Community Foundation, “Our board recognizes the importance of bringing our two communities closer together through this trail. Our futures are connected.”
Albion’s Mayor, Dave Atchison, agrees: “Trails have been called America’s new front porch, and I can’t think of a better way for residents of our two communities to get to know each other than by meeting on the trail. I’ve heard that the vast majority of trail users in Michigan are local people who live within 1-2 miles of a trail, so expanding access to trails for our residents is important.”
Besides the social and health benefits, recreational trails can also have a significant economic impact on the communities they pass through. Atchison states, “My wife and I own a bed and breakfast in Albion, and this past summer we hosted a couple from Denmark that was biking around southern Michigan. We know that dozens of other cyclists and hikers visited Marshall and Albion this summer, eating at local restaurants and many spending the night.”
In fact, this past September 50 cyclists completed the first-ever organized ride of the 275-milelong Great Lake to Lake Trail, overnighting in Marshall on September 14 and passing through Albion on their way to Jackson on the following day. While the lack of trails in parts of Calhoun County required the cyclists to use local roads, the extension of the Albion River Trail and eventual connection to Marshall as part of the Calhoun County Trailway will make it easier and safer for cyclists and hikers of all ages.
Our board recognizes the importance of bringing our two communities closer together through this trail. Our futures are connected.
This story is reprinted with permission from The Recorder.
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