By Caleb Nordgren
Holt Journal staff writer
The Delhi Charter Township Board voted Tuesday to move forward with efforts to expand the local trail system and to grant a tax abatement to Magna International Inc. to build a new assembly line. The line is projected to bring about 35 jobs to the Holt area.
The trail expansion is designed to make Holt a “walkable community,” said C.J. Davis, the township supervisor. It will be done in two parts. The first, which is nearly ready to begin construction, would expand the Lansing River Trail into Holt. The second, for which the board approved about $650,000 over three years, would continue the expansion of the trail system south toward Mason. Davis said during the meeting that getting local schools access to the trails is one of the township’s priorities.
Delhi Township Director of Community Development Tracy Miller said the trail system will eventually extend as far south as Jackson, but for now it’s intended to give Holt residents more options in transportation.
“It would give people an alternative to driving,” Miller said. “Just because of the type of community we have, we believe people would opt to walk or bike.”
Township Trustee DiAnne Warfield said she supported the trail projects because it could lower transportation costs for schools and improve student health by encouraging walking or biking to school.
Davis agreed, but said he liked how unique an expanded trail system would make Holt.
“The idea of a walkable community is being on the forefront instead of following,” he said.
As for the tax abatement for Magna, Davis said the new jobs from the assembly line will attract young, working families and pump money into the schools. Also, as Miller explained, while Holt will lose about $1.4 million in personal property tax over 12 years, the state of Michigan is considering eliminating the personal property tax entirely, which would make the abatement a moot point.
Warfield said the potential elimination of the tax made the decision an easy one.
“We’re all for more jobs,” she said. “Offering a partial tax abatement for a tax that may disappear is a good idea.”