By Florian Cherdron
Meridian Times staff writer
OKEMOS — Meridian Township has been a leading community when it comes to pedestrian and bicycle paths, according to Susan McGillicuddy, township supervisor. The township has made accessible pathways abundant.
Recently, though, the township proposed a pathway that the residents were not so inclined to support, with several residents speaking out at the March 6 township board meeting.
A proposed pathway starting at the east end of Sylvan Glen Road through the Red Cedar Nature Preserve received opposition from residents living in the area.
Bryan Holland of 1400 Sylvan Glen Road spoke out at the meeting to express his concerns for the pathway.
“That land is there to be preserved;it isn’t designed to be a public thoroughfare,” said Holland.
The preserve is restricted to pedestrians, and residents of the area did not want to see it on the pedestrian/bicycle master plan.
“Pathways are put on the master plan to show the residents where they go on the map,” said McGillicuddy. “It makes pathways eligible for funding from a millage. That millage is used to improve them and maintain them, even in the wintertime.”
McGillicuddy also said that land preservations are different than parks in that they are meant to preserve the land they contain, which means walking instead of biking.
Larry Robbins of 1568 Sylvan Glen Rd., a longtime resident of the township, said he uses the pathways several times each week. Robbins is also against opening the Red Cedar Preserve to bicyclists.
“The land preservation areas are not biking areas,” said Robbins. “The land is currently being used in the ways that have been established for all land preservation areas in terms of walking, jogging, cross-country skiing and nature.”
The proposed pathway through the Red Cedar Preserve was not placed on the master plan, but the township has more than 20 miles of trails and 80 miles of pedestrian/bicycle paths.
McGillicuddy said that having accessible pathways has been one of her goals for the community.
“I think that we’re one of the premier neighborhoods in Michigan when it comes to pedestrian and bike paths,” said McGillicuddy.
Even residents who spoke out agree with her sentiment.
“The township really does a great job listening to the residents and they try hard to provide pathways of different types and locations for residents to be able to get all over the township,” said Holland.