Ontwa Trails public meeting Tuesday

Published 11:37 am Monday, November 16, 2015

Ontwa Township will host a second public meeting to share the results of a survey and its plans for the proposed Ontwa Trails at 6 p.m. Tuesday.

Don DeLong, of the Ontwa Township Planning Commission, will share the results from a public survey handed out at the first meeting in September.

DeLong will also have a PowerPoint presentation, which will include maps of the four phases that detail the plan.

“The plan may change as different road work projects may incorporate Ontwa Trails work in an effort to save funding,” DeLong said.

At the September meeting, also held at the Ontwa Township Hall, a large number of citizens turned out to hear about the proposed bike/walking trail.

Also on hand were Ontwa Township Supervisor John Bossler, Joe Bellina of the Cass County Road Commission, Sandra Seanor of the planning commission, Margie Allen of the Trails Team, Mike Mroczek of the township board, Gautam Mani of the Southwest Planning Commission, Darrell Harden of the Michigan Department of Transportation, Pat Bellaire of the village board and Leroy Krempec of the Cass Roads and Ontwa planner.

Two things that were taken away from that meeting were that the public wants a safe, yet somewhat challenging trail for recreational cyclists, and somewhere for families to walk or ride.

One of the possible locations for Ontwa Trails would be a part of the Edwardsburg Sports Complex on US-12.

“The sports complex is all ready to put in 10-foot paths, scheduled to go in in 2017, I believe, from the sports complex out to Claire (Street),” DeLong said at the September meeting.

Of the people who filled out and returned the surveys, 32 lived in Ontwa Township, 11 were in the Village of Edwardsburg, four were from Indiana, two from Niles and two from Jefferson Township.

“The result of all the answers and comments shows a great need for non-motorized paths in Ontwa Township and the Village of Edwardsburg,” DeLong said. “People want to be connected from homes to businesses to churches to parks to other neighborhoods. Almost every major road in Ontwa Township was identified as a needed route with the most requested ones being May, Redfield, Elkhart and M-62. Connecting the lake neighborhoods was also a requested. The majority of respondents want shoulders added to the existing roads. There was also a specific need for 10-foot wide off-road path for smaller children, elderly, dog walking and strollers.

“The most important outcome from the meeting and survey was that there is a great need for paths to connect our community. People are very excited about the future of Edwardsburg and how it will look and feel in the future,” DeLong added.