The City of Dewitt, Dewitt Township and the Clinton County Road Commission have come together to provide walking and biking paths throughout Dewitt Township. Dewitt Township is calling it the Non-Motorized Transportation Plan, which will be making walking and biking much more desired modes of transportation.
“The township adopted a non-motorized transportation plan in 2013, so this is one of the projects that was identified on that plan,” said Rod Taylor, Dewitt Township manager. We started working on it in a concentrated fashion in 2015.”
“The Non-Motorized Transportation Plan identified 60 different projects where we ranked those projects based upon a weighted system that looked at safety issues, connection with commercial areas, schools, and neighborhoods,” said Taylor. “In addition, this project was a joint venture with the City of Dewitt as well as the Clinton County Road Commission. All three of us worked together on this, and by working as a collaborative we were able to complete a bigger much more substantial project.”
There is no set date for the complete plan to be finished, but expect the entire project not to be completed for at least a couple years. According to the vision created by the committee, there are roughly 71 miles of non-motorized transportation infrastructure needed to create a fully interconnected system of paths, bike paths, and sidewalks that would link assets and neighborhoods together in the Dewitt Township.
“The construction of phase one started in July of this year,” said Daniel Coss, Dewitt City administrator.
The project that the plan is currently addressing is creating a walking and biking path on Herbison Road, from Old U.S. 27 to Schavey Rd in Dewitt. The project will be completed in two stages and potentially a third stage extending the path to Schavey Rd. Phase one has just been completed.
“Phase one extends from Old U.S. 27 to The Sports Park in Dewitt,” said Taylor. “Phase two will be a continuation from The Sports Park to the entrance of Dewitt schools Panther Dr. Potentially there will be a phase three, which would be a continuation to Schavey Road.”
With a project of this magnitude and with this big of a time frame, the question is will the public be using it and how will they react to the ongoing construction. According to Coss and Taylor, they have both received very positive feedback and support on this project from Dewitt Township.
“We’ve conducted quite a few surveys, and recreationally the no. 1 request is always for more paths. That last survey we did, 85 percent of the 400 people who participated in the survey wanted more paths for walking and bike riding,” said Coss. “All the comments I get are positive.
Taylor responded by simply saying, “Phenomenally. There has been an extreme number of extremely positive supporting people.”
Dewitt Township resident, Greg Wilshire, shared what he thinks about the new walking path on Herbison Rd. and the future potential of the project.
“It does motivate me to get out there everyday after work and enjoy the trails and nature,” said Wilshire. “It’s a good idea. It allows people from the area to explore other places they normally wouldn’t go to and vice versa.”
The cost of the project has yet to be determined, but a funding source has been identified.
“The project was funded with 80 percent federal transportation dollars with a 20 percent local match,” said Coss. “A majority of it was funded by state grant dollars.”
The construction on phase two should begin soon. With phase one being complete, the township has already seen their project being utilized in the way that they intended and hoped it to.
“The day the concrete is dry and the barricades come down, people are walking on them,” said Coss.