DEWITT, Mich. — “DeWitt’s a very active community so it’s no surprise to me that when we do these surveys people want more places to walk and ride their bike. We know through the National Association of Realtors, through the Michigan Association of Realtors, we know these amenities increase and preserve property values,” Coss said. “I think during the pandemic it was really highlighted on how nice it is to have these amenities right outside your door.”There will soon be four more miles of sidewalks and bike paths across DeWitt, DeWitt Township, and Watertown Township, just in time for summer.
“We’ve actually done a few community surveys over the last six years or so – we just finished one up late last year…on recreational facilities and amenities,” said DeWitt City Administrator Dan Coss. “The number one request is more walking paths, more sidewalks, more bike paths – it’s the number one request, and it beats everything by 15 to 20 percentage points, always.”
The total cost of the project is $1,750,000. A majority, $1,250,000, of the cost is paid for by grant funding.
“A lot of the work that is going on right now was done with a grant called the Safe Routes to School program. So we partnered – it was the City of DeWitt, DeWitt Township, Watertown Township, Clinton County Road Commission, and the DeWitt Public Schools. We applied and received a $915,000 grant for sidewalks," Coss explained.
Safe Routes to School is an international movement and federal program that encourages healthy, active lifestyles for children by aiming to make routes to school safe, convenient and accessible to all.
Of the remaining cost, the city of DeWitt will pay $235,000, the township of DeWitt will pay $245,000 and Watertown Township will pay $10,000. A transportation alternative systems state grant will also be applied.
Two miles of the sidewalks being added will be on DeWitt Road between Herbison and Clark, and Clark Road from DeWitt Road to Panther Drive. Sidewalks and paths will also be added to Howell Road and some residential areas. All of the paths and sidewalks will lead to downtown DeWitt, while linking the three municipalities and their park systems.
“You can’t have communities on islands,” said DeWitt Township Manager Andrew Dymczyk. “We have an extensive non-motorized transportation network already. We have a plan, we have a series of projects that we would like to continue to work on to provide that connectivity so that all residents from every area have that option to utilize the pathways and connect with their neighbors if they so choose.”
The City of DeWitt also has a long-term non-motorized master plan for which it routinely budgets.
“DeWitt’s a very active community so it’s no surprise to me that when we do these surveys people want more places to walk and ride their bike. We know through the National Association of Realtors, through the Michigan Association of Realtors, we know these amenities increase and preserve property values,” Coss said. “I think during the pandemic it was really highlighted on how nice it is to have these amenities right outside your door.”
“Often times, townships, cities and neighbors don’t have the relationship that we share here in the Greater Lansing area. So I just am thankful for our good neighbors, thankful for our partnership with the school district as well. It’s just a culmination of everyone working together toward a common goal, and I think that’s something special and should be cherished a little bit,” Dymczyk said.
Coss said the new sidewalks will hopefully be open in the next two to three weeks.
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