Sylvania trail vote delayed for 4 weeks


It may be at least four weeks before Sylvania City Council authorizes preparation of construction documents for the proposed Sylvania River Trail.

Council Monday night accepted an economic development subcommittee report recommending a change to the route of a temporary section of the proposed 1.3-mile trail running along the Ottawa River and Ten Mile Creek near downtown Sylvania. The report also directed Ann Arbor-based JJR, the city's consultant for the project, to include "add-alternate" items in construction bidding for the project.

But at the recommendation of subcommittee Chairman Mark Luetke, council agreed to defer action to authorize JJR to prepare formal blueprints until Nov. 2, a delay intended to allow time for talks with several property owners who have yet to grant easements for the trail.

Council accepted Mr. Luetke's recommendation without further discussion. Council was to discuss the trail easements and other real-estate issues in a closed-door session at the conclusion of the council meeting last night.

The route change actually represents the undoing of a proposed temporary alignment along Ten Mile Creek's south bank between the Ottawa River fork and Main Street.

Because of high cost estimates for building a permanent trail along Ten Mile's north bank in that area, JJR had recommended building a temporary route on the south bank, then filling the gap on the north bank as a later phase of the project.

But after a property owner on the southerly alignment questioned the wisdom of running the trail through a parking lot there, the consultant found that avoiding the parking lot would cost more than simply building a temporary trail on the north bank, then upgrading it later.

JJR's cost estimate for a "base" version of the trail's first phase is $2.69 million. But the subcommittee report accepted the consultant's proposal that certain items cut from the main budget to save money be included as "add-alternates" for bidding, so that if construction bids are lower than expected, some or all of those features may be restored.

The "add-alternates" include parking-lot reconstruction at the West Trailhead, near Monroe Street and Silica Drive; creation of an overlook along the route; additional streambank res-

toration; underbrush clearing; a stormwater quality system; and additional lighting.

An East Trailhead is proposed to be near the intersection of Monroe and Alexis Road, behind a Burger King there. In between, the trail would follow the river, crossing it once just west of U.S. 23 and again at its forks, where Ten Mile Creek and the north fork of Ten Mile join to form the Ottawa River.

Except for concrete-decked boardwalk sections, the eastern end would be paved with asphalt, while the western end, closer to downtown Sylvania, would be concrete.

The trail is a part of the Gateway Project, a larger campaign of public improvements intended to make downtown Sylvania more attractive for commercial and recreational activities.

Contact David Patch at:

or 419-724-6094.