Ontwa Township, Edwardsburg village considering trail project along Elkhart Road

Published 2:17 pm Wednesday, November 10, 2021

ONTWA TOWNSHIP — Ontwa Township and the village of Edwardsburg are looking at creating a path forward together.

The two municipalities are currently considering engaging in a project to add a trail long Elkhart Road from Gateway Road to Windsor Drive. The 1.1-mile trail would be split at a cost of 70 percent to the township and 30 percent to the village.

Monday evening, the Ontwa Township Board of Trustees voted to spend $9,100 to engage Wightman, a regional consulting firm, to study the project and determine if adding the trail is feasible and beneficial for the two municipalities.

Township Supervisor Jerry Marchetti said the township and village began considering the trail project recently after a township trustee expressed interest in making the area safer to walk in, especially for students at Edwardsburg Public Schools.

“We’ve had a lot of inquiries about bike trails and walking trails, and we don’t really have anything other than the trail that leads to the sports complex,” he said. “We wanted to see if something could be done about that.”

According to Marchetti, the Wightman report will help determine what would go into the trail project, how much it could cost, potential funding and grant opportunities and more.

“Right now, there is so much unknown,” Marchetti said. “It is uncertain if this is affordable for us and the village. At this point, nothing has been determined, so once they get in and study it, we will have a better idea.”

Should the report prove the trail project to be feasible, Marchetti said he believes it could add value and quality of life increase to village and township residents alike.

“It would be a very nice walking path,” he said.

Once the study by Wightman is complete, Marchetti said a public meeting would be hosted to present and discuss its findings with the community.