Gateway Sign

The new “Gateway of Michigan” sign at Interstate 94 Exit 1 in New Buffalo.

NEW BUFFALO — Following a March 16 public hearing, the New Buffalo Township Board approved submitting an application to the Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund for $300,000 for the development of a local portion of the 58-mile Marquette Greenway that ultimately is planned to connect Chicago to New Buffalo.

New Buffalo Township has made a financial commitment to the project in the amount of $150,000 in cash, and if the grant is awarded commits its local match and a donated amount of $150,300 from The Pokagon Fund.

Marcy Hamilton of the Southwest Michigan Planning Council said multiple grant requests have been submitted for the Michigan portion of the trail, noting that the City of New Buffalo was recently awarded an DNR Recreation Passport Grant to build a trailhead at Mechanic and Smith streets.

Hamilton said she thinks the project is in a good position this year to get major grant and have the Trust Fund application from the township be received positively

She also noted that the township has approved the trial three-lane road diet (a three-lane version of U.S. 12 is part of the design of the Marquette Greenway. If township officials decide they would rather keep U.S. 12 at the current four-lane setup she said it is not committed to accepting a grant for something that can’t be built.

“Right now we’re kind of proposing that the trail goes down U.S. 12 and then goes in at Grand Beach and then down to the state line,” she said, adding that the Amtrak crossing requires a lot of safety precautions with details still being worked out.

Another grant related to the Marquette Greenway the township is expected to apply for soon is a $99,000 one from the USDA to help with engineering costs.

In another March 16 matter, the Township Board approved payment number 2 (in the amount of $245,791.12) for the Interstate 94 Exit 1 project.

Township Supervisor Michelle Heit said the sign is up with some finishing touches such as some fencing and lighting still to be installed, adding she was not sure how coronavirus situation affects the schedule.

“It’s supposed to be complete in April … We’ll see.”

Fire Chief Jamie Flick said every day is something different for the fire department in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic.

“We can’t shut down, so we’ll just maintain.”

Heit had praise for the March 7 St. Patrick’s Parade in New Buffalo.

“It was an awesome day … the town came out and had a good time.”

In other March 16 business the New Buffalo Township Board:

• Approved a $6,770 bid from Treecore to do tree work at Memorial Park and on the Township Hall grounds.

• Were informed of a water main extension project on Community Hall Road that will be done by Kalin Construction during the Union Pier Red Arrow Highway project and be billed to the township by the GRSD.

• OK’d a $42,500 proposal by Burkholder Excavating Inc. for clean-up and clearing at the site where a new fire station will be built south of the city.

* Approved the purchase of Motorola radios for the fire department’s new truck at a cost of $4,788.50 plus programming for approximately $250. Flick later reported that some old fire department equipment including pagers and radios that can no longer be used for $897.50.

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