On Nov. 4 Meridian Township hosted a ribbon cutting ceremony for the Okemos Road Boardwalk. This boardwalk completes the final remaining gap in the pathway system along the east side of Okemos Road. It connects the pathway from Jolly Road to Lake Lansing Road.
Construction of the boardwalk began early this summer and was anticipated to be done Sept. 1 according to the township website. Reaching funds and extreme weather conditions pushed the completion date back to early November.
“We had wet weather that pushed us back and material deliveries got delayed,” said Meridian Township chief engineer Younes Ishraidi. “We didn’t want to rush to the finish, we wanted it to be safe and do the best job possible.”
Meridian Township Deputy Manager Derek Perry started the ribbon cutting off with a speech about his feelings on the build.
“Good things come to those who wait would be the best way to describe this project,” said Perry.
Meridian Township received $975,000 in funding from the Ingham County Parks and Trail Millage. The last $325,000 of the $1.3 million project came from the township voters who approved the pathway.
Those in the township who worked on this project lobbied hard for the Ingham County grant as it would supply a majority of the funding. They were up against Lansing Parks and Recreation Department, which wanted the grant to maintain their current train system.
Around 50 residents were in attendance for the ribbon cutting. Many were looking forward to this construction as there is no sidewalk on that section of Okemos Road, so it is unsafe for pedestrians or bikers.
“I’m a biker and a walker so this something I plan on using a lot,” said resident Dave Rainone. “It also adds to the community and I hope it will get people out to check out the area.”
There were several public officials at this event as well as the township supervisor Ronald Styka, State Rep Julie Brixie and the county commissioner Emily Stivers. Together, along with the parks and rec. department, they cut the ribbon officially opening the bridge to the community.
Following the ribbon cutting, attendees were invited to take a ceremonial walk down the boardwalk. One of those residents was Kathy Opperwall.
“The views from this bridge are great and being able to see the wetlands in a new way is a unique experience,” said Opperwall.