Connecting the paths of DeWitt

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Jack Sznewajs

The border surrounding the city of DeWitt with Herbison Road, the site of the new bike path, pictured on the southern border.

Herbison Road can be found on the southern border of DeWitt. Alongside it runs a few parks, DeWitt high school and the Prairie Creek Golf Course, which have all been there for years. However, there is now a new attraction to Herbison Road, a bike path.

“The path is part of the City of DeWitt’s non-motorized master plan that was created in 1998,” said City Administrator Daniel Coss. “The Herbison Road path was a priority to connect the DeWitt Sports Park to the DeWitt Schools campus and make a connection to DeWitt Township.”

Connecting a community is what the city council is all about in DeWitt, and that is what council members, such as Dave Hunsaker, look for in the job.

“Being a council member to me means listening to people and making decisions for this community,” said Hunsaker. “Working with my colleagues on city council and the Mayor, I think that we strive to make our city a safe place where families want to live and business want to locate.”

The city council works on projects every year to help make Dewitt a safer and better community. The new bike path on Herbison Road fits that description, which is why the council wanted to get it done.

“I have been advocating for safe routes to schools since I became a council member 14 years ago,” said Hunsaker. “Unfortunately, communities like DeWitt have built school campuses in locations that are convenient for automobiles, but dangerous for kids walking or riding bikes.”

That is where the idea for the bike path was started. As far as the funding for the new path, MDOT is there to help.

“The path is being funded by MDOT Transportation Alternative Program funds (TAP funds),” said Coss. “TAPs funds are allocated to several regions around the state to fund non-motorized projects.”

The plan was divided into three phases from 2017-2019. At last weeks city council meeting, Phase II was approved which allowed the use of funds provided by MDOT.

So far, the city of DeWitt has responded positively to the new path, and Daniel Coss hopes that it as popular as bike paths already in the city.

“Our existing path system gets a lot of use by walkers, runners and bicyclists,” said Coss. “I would anticipate this path to be as equally popular as our existing system.”

Phase III is set to be completed next summer, and with it, comes the hope that every single child who goes to school in DeWitt will be safe no matter what.

“When it’s complete, DeWitt children will be able to safely, walk, ride, or rollerblade to and from the school campus to particularly every neighborhood,” said Hunsaker. “For me, this is a dream come true.”