Niles pursues trail grant

The Niles City Council on Monday approved the submission of a grant application that would help pay for the expansion of the River Valley multi-use trail to the west side of the St. Joseph River near Lakeland Hospital.

The project is expected to cost approximately $500,000. The Michigan Department of Natural Resources Trust Fund Grant would cover $220,000 of the cost. City officials said that the Lakeland Foundation has expressed that an anonymous donor may commit $250,000 to the project.

The city would be required to come up with $30,000.

The proposed addition would connect the Niles Main Street Bridge and the Broadway Bridge with a non-motorized trail that would run close to the river.

Currently, the trail is only located on the east side of the river.

The proposed plan also includes building a new railed fishing platform, outdoor plaza with seating and another plaza that would serve as an area where food vendors or food trucks could set up.

Bicycle racks and a wayfinding kiosk with a map of the trail and downtown Niles is also included in the proposed plan.

Marcy Colclough, of the Southwest Michigan Planning Commission, has said that the city won’t know it is awarded the grant until the end of the year.

If the city receives the grant, construction could begin as early as the spring of 2017.

Also Monday:

• Mayor Mike McCauslin proclaimed that March 29 was “Welcome Home Vietnam Veterans Day” and urged all citizens to celebrate the men and women who served during the Vietnam War.

• McCauslin also proclaimed that April 12 would be “Leon Parker Taylor Day.” Taylor, a longtime Niles resident and former planning commission member, turns 100 on April 12.

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