What was proposed a year ago
The City of Onaway recently played a key role in the development of the Northeastern State Trail, which is 70 miles long and extends through 22 local units of government from Alpena to Cheboygan. The NEST underwent a $3 million facelift, with much of that money spent on a hard-packed limestone surface, 10 feet wide with three-foot shoulders. The project cost around $3 million, with local, state, and federal funds all used to complete it. Of the 22 local units of government, 21 contributed toward the local match required of a federal transporation enhancement grant. Now that the project is complete, the City will propose a collaborative effort between the 22 local units to keep it maintained and marketed. It is expected that the MDNR and regional trails council also would be involved in this process. The trail, a key part of the governor's initiative, should have a positive impact on all 22 local units, but maintaining and marketing it is too large an endeavor unless we work together. All 22 local units of government stand to gain if this trail plays a role in bringing tourism dollars to the area. If the trail plays a role in someone building a home in any of our municipalities, the immediate gain in tax base could be upwards of $1,000. Tourism dollars also help keep businesses open and people employed.
UPDATE: What transpired during the 2013-14 fiscal year
The City had hoped to kick start the collaborative described above during its 2013-14 fiscal year. While discussions took place with the area Trails Council, the City got very busy with other things, namely the elimination of its police department and the ensuing partnership with the Presque Isle County Sheriff's Department, described elsewhere in this EVIP report.
That partnership stands as the City's shared service endeavor for 2013, and it is a very important one for the future of the community. That said, the City plans to continue to pursue the Trail collaboration during its 2014-15 fiscal year, with a plan to call together the first meeting before June 1, 2014.
BARRIERS: What could prevent this from preceding to completion
There are many local units of government with a vested interest in this trail. The key will be seating a board that represents these local units as much as possible. This most certainly is not a barrier that cannot be overcome, however.
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