County awarded $1.5 million grant for loop trail

The Monroe County Community Foundation received a $1,530,000 grant from the Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation to help pay for the construction of the 6.5-mile Monroe Area Loop Trail.

The funding represents more than 30% of the estimated $4.77 million cost to build the trail, according to a press release issued by the foundation.

“We are thrilled to receive this grant on behalf of the entire Monroe community,” said foundation director Kathleen Russeau. “The amount is the largest ever received by our organization and it demonstrates the value of community partners working together in the ideals on which our foundation was created.

Designed as a 10-foot-wide shared-use path, the Monroe Loop Trail will begin south of the Raisin River in the town of Monroe, run west along W. Seventh Street and along a old railroad corridor to Monroe County Community College south Raisinville Road where the path will turn north to North Custer Road in Frenchtown Charter Township to the County Museum North Territorial Park and back east to join the existing shared-use Mark Worrell Trail at Munson Park in the City of Monroe.

The Loop Trail is part of and connects to the River Raisin Heritage Trail, a documented regional trail in southeast Michigan, which is the only regional trail in Monroe County. The trail will provide Monroe area residents and visitors with access to many regional and community recreational, cultural, and institutional destinations, including the Raisin River and Lake Erie via Sterling State Park.

The Monroe Area Loop Trail is set to become Monroe’s flagship trail, which in the future is expected to connect north to Michigan’s Iron Belle Trail and south to Toledo and its extensive trail system. The project has both regional and community significance, as it will connect international, national and state assets owned and operated by multi-jurisdictional organizations comprised of federal, state, county and local agencies.

These destinations include Detroit River International Wildlife Refuge, River Raisin National Battlefield Park, Sterling State Park and many other destinations such as Munson Park, Monroe County Trading Post and Territorial Park, Ellis Library, Monroe County Fairgrounds, many agencies and Offices, Monroe County Intermediate School District, Monroe County Community College, and Monroe High School. Each of these destinations also serves as a community partner supporting the project. Other partners include the Road Commission and the townships of Frenchtown and Monroe.

Financial support from the Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation is one of the final elements of the fundraising plan for the trail project. Several townships have also contributed financially to the project, including Bedford, Frenchtown and Monroe.

“Frenchtown Charter Township is honored to participate in the Monroe Area Loop Trail,” said Frenchtown Supervisor Al VanWashenova. “We know that this endeavor will bring countless pleasures to the people of our township, as well as the surrounding communities.”

“After many years of continuous effort, it is great news to secure this important source of funding for the Trail Loop project,” Monroe County Board of Commissioners Chairman Mark Brant said. “But most importantly, together with our local unit partners and others, we will be able to create a community asset for families and visitors to experience and support quality of life amenities, including the access to so many recreational and cultural points along the entire trail network.

“We share Ms. Russeau’s excitement at the announcement of this funding award for the Trail Project,” added Michael Bosanac, County Administrator/CFO. “As a visible project in the community, it reflects the Board of Commissioners’ goal of working together to create opportunities for our fellow citizens. And it aligns with our Monroe Link plan to focus efforts and resources on the quality of life and tourism strategies to support more vibrant communities With 32,000 residents within a mile of the trail and 18,000 just ¼ mile away, the trail delivers on what citizens have said they wanted in various leisure surveys.

The Mayor of the City of Monroe, Robert Clark, also expressed his gratitude for the grant support.

“We are excited to see the development of the Monroe Loop Trail as it will have recreational, health and economic benefits for residents and local businesses in historic downtown Monroe,” Clark said. “The trail will significantly expand the trail network, further connecting our local communities and beyond to the natural assets of the area, and the City of Monroe is an integral partner in this important quality of life project.

Monroe Township Supervisor Al Barron also expressed his congratulations on the grant award and the project,

“This is great news not just for our township, but for the entire Monroe County community,” Barron said. “This trail will give all residents, as well as visitors to our county, the opportunity to safely walk or bike while accessing so many great destinations. It certainly adds to the current recreational opportunities that currently exist. in our community.”

The Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation is a granting organization dedicated primarily to sustained investment in the quality of life for the people of Southeast Michigan and Western New York. Both estates reflect Ralph C. Wilson, Jr.’s dedication to his hometown of Detroit and to Buffalo, home of his beloved Buffalo Bills NFL team.

Prior to his passing in 2014, Wilson planned that a significant portion of his estate would be used to pursue lifelong generosity of spirit by funding the foundation that bears his name. Based in Detroit, the foundation began with a grant-making capacity of $1.2 billion over a 20-year period, which expires on January 8, 2035. This structure is in line with Wilson’s desire that the impact of the foundation to be immediate, substantial, measurable and overseen by those who knew him best.

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