Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation Gift Funds Replacement of Deteriorating 95-Year Old Bridge and the Resurfacing of the Entire Paint Creek Trail
Rochester, Michigan: The Community Foundation of Greater Rochester has been awarded a $408,000 grant from the Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation for the benefit of the Paint Creek Trailways Commission. This grant will be used to fund two major projects on the Paint Creek Trail, a popular 8.9 mile regional rail trail and key link in Oakland County’s Oak Routes and Michigan’s Iron Belle Trail network.
Funding from the Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation will enable the Trailways Commission and the Oakland Township Parks and Recreation Commission to replace a 95-year-old timber pedestrian bridge. Bridge 33.7 was originally a railroad bridge built in 1924 and then later converted for pedestrian traffic for the Paint Creek Trail. During the project, the existing bridge will be replaced with a seventy-five foot keystone-style steel truss bridge. The design of the new bridge will greatly improve accessibility for trail users and will also support a greater load capacity, allowing maintenance and emergency vehicles to cross. Construction on the new bridge is anticipated to begin in mid-May and last through early September. The trail will be closed between Dutton and Silverbell roads throughout the duration of the project.
The funds will also be used to resurface the entire Paint Creek Trail from Lake Orion to downtown Rochester. Resurfacing of the trail is an ongoing event of a cyclical nature and last occurred in 2004. The project will improve the smoothness and regularity of the trail, and will provide a safer and more predictable and enjoyable surface for all trail users. The resurfacing project is expected to occur concurrently with the bridge replacement project. Trail closures will be on a rolling basis, two miles at a time.
Grant funding from the Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation is crucial to completing both projects, which are critical elements in the Paint Creek Trailways Commission’s Recreation Master Plan.
“The Paint Creek Trailways Commission is grateful and humbled by the generous grant from The Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation,” said David Becker, Chairman of the Paint Creek Trailways Commission. “Help with a badly needed new bridge and with improvement of the Paint Creek Trail surface will contribute to the “livable communities” which are a primary focus of the Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation. Our trail users, our communities, and Southeast Michigan will reap the benefits of the Foundation’s forward looking philanthropy for years to come.”
James Tighe, Director of Parks and Trails Initiative at the Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation said, “The Paint Creek Trail is a tremendous recreational asset in Southeast Michigan and we are proud to support the continued maintenance and sustainability of the trail to improve the safety and quality of the trail, improving users’ experience for years to come.”
In addition to the funding from the Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation, the bridge project is being supported by a $300,000 Transportation Alternative Program (TAP) grant from the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) and a $300,000 Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund grant from the Michigan Department of Natural Resources (MDNR). Oakland Township Parks and Recreation, who is responsible for the maintenance of Bridge 33.7, has also committed a $156,200 cash match for the bridge replacement.
Additionally, the four member communities of the Oakland Township, Orion Township, Rochester, and Rochester Hills have each committed funds towards the resurfacing of its section of the trail.
The Paint Creek Trailways Commission is working with the Community Foundation of Greater Rochester as its 501(c)(3) non-profit partner to administer the funds. “The Paint Creek Trail is integral to the revered quality of life available in the Greater Rochester Communities thanks in large part to the stewardship of the Paint Creek Trailways Commission,” said Jo Allen, President of the Community Foundation of Greater Rochester. “I’m glad the Commission reached out to the Foundation to help secure this grant from the Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation.”
About the Paint Creek Trail: The Paint Creek Trail was the first non-motorized rail-to-trail in the State of Michigan, and traverses through the communities of Rochester, Rochester Hills, Oakland Township, Orion Township, and the Village of Lake Orion. The Trail annually serves approximately 100,000 pedestrians, cyclists, equestrians, anglers, nature enthusiasts, and users of all ages and abilities. For more information about the Paint Creek Trail, visit www.paintcreektrail.org, or call (248) 651-9260.
About the Community Foundation of Greater Rochester: The Community Foundation of Greater Rochester manages just under $10,000,000 in endowed and non-endowed funds. Its primary purpose, accepting, processing and managing donations and making grants from those donations in support of programs that serve the public. In addition, the Community Foundation manages funds for several non-profit organizations so the non-profits can focus on their core missions without getting overwhelmed by paperwork and reporting requirements. The Community Foundation is a Michigan non-profit corporation with an IRS 501(c)(3) tax exempt designation. It is a member of the Council of Michigan Foundations and certified to the Council of Foundation’s National Standards.