Niles Township pursues trail grant

Progress toward completing the Indiana-Michigan River Valley Trail continues to inch forward.

On Monday, the Niles Township Board of Trustees voted to apply for a grant from the Michigan Department of Natural Resources that would pay for a significant portion of the estimated $900,000 project.

The deadline to apply is April 1. Township officials should know if they are awarded the grant by the end of the year.

The final portion of the multi-use trail will run north from Brandywine Creek Nature Park to Fort Street where it will connect with the City of Niles’ trail.

The township has already been awarded one grant for the project from the Michigan Department of Transportation.

Clerk Terry Eull said the township would be responsible for paying about $166,000 for the second and final phase of the trail.

The first phase of the River Valley Trail project in Niles Township opened in August 2014. It stretches 3.3 miles from the state line to Brandywine Creek Nature Park.

The entire trail, when finished, is expected to connect the City of Niles with Mishawaka, Indiana, with 34 miles of trail.

Also Monday:

• Parks Commission Chairman Harry Thibault announced that Bike Michiana Coalition donated $15,000 toward the township’s cost of building the River Valley Trail.

• Awarded AmeriGreen, of Niles, a contract of $25 per hour for mowing noxious weeds for the code enforcement department.

• Approved a contract with Williams & Works for $7,280 to act as the planner on a project to update the township’s master plan.

• Approved vacating of a small portion of Bicknell Avenue that extends north of Wightman Street. Michigan CAT is expanding its business and that portion of Bicknell was in the expansion area.

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