Celebrating the trailPublished 8:49am Tuesday, August 5, 2014
Grand opening this weekend for multi-use path in Niles Township
Niles Charter Township will cut the ribbon this weekend on a 3.3-mile section of the soon to be completed 34-mile Indiana-Michigan River Valley Trail.
Residents are encouraged to bring their bicycles, or just themselves, to Niles Township Hall, 320 Bell Rd., Niles at 10 a.m. Saturday, Aug. 9.
There, state and local officials will be celebrating the completion of the first phase of the paved-trail project for Niles Charter Township, spanning from the Indiana/Michigan state line to
Brandywine Creek Nature Park, just north of US-12.
Construction began this spring.
Township Supervisor Jim Stover said the multi-use trail has the potential to make an impact on the area’s economics, although the extent of its impact may not be measurable.
“I believe there will be a lot of participants who are commuting to the trail and then going back,” he said. “Will they stop at local merchants before and after? I don’t know, but the possibility is there.”
The program is expected to last about a half an hour, with the ribbon cutting set for around 10:30 a.m. Afterward, cake will be served and some officials will go for a ride on the trail.
A police officer is expected to be present to educate people on safety and to supervise the influx of people crossing U.S. Highway 12.
Joey Armadillo’s will open for lunch at around 11 a.m. to accommodate the trail users.
Also, volunteers will be picking up small trash along the Niles Township segment of the trail beginning at 6 p.m. Wednesday. Anyone interested in helping should meet at the Niles Township Hall at that time.
A bike/trail safety forum will also be that evening in the township hall from 7 to 8 p.m. hosted by Michigan State Police Trooper Rob Herbstreith. Following the presentation, attendees are invited to ride or walk the trail a few days ahead of the grand opening. The Bike Michiana Coalition will donate free bike safety gifts.
The Indiana-Michigan River Valley Trail will eventually span two states and 34 miles, connecting the City of Niles to Mishawaka, Indiana. A few segments remain to be finished, including a mile of trail north of Brandywine Creek Nature Park and segments in Indiana.
The second phase in Niles Township is expected to cost a little more than $600,000 with the City of Niles and Niles Township jointly responsible for paying approximately $178,000 of that, Thibault said. The rest would be covered by grants.