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Trailhead decision a wise one by city commission

December 22, 2012
The Daily News

A recent decision by the Marquette City Commission should please just about everybody.

The commission action involved agreeing to allow the Noquemanon Trail Network to construct trailhead facilities on city property off of M-553.

Included in the project will be a 24-foot by 32-foot open-air structure, a 100-vehicle gravel parking lot, picnic facilities and signage consistent with other city signs.

The property is part of the Heartwood Forestland and is already used as a trailhead for the trail system in south Marquette that NTN maintains.

NTN officials estimate the project will cost about $70,000, which will be covered by a $10,000 allocation in the NTN's 2013 budget, fundraising, in-kind donations and grant funds, if any can be secured.

In addition to the property, the city will provide zoning and easement assistance, bathrooms and general maintenance.

Included in the city's motion to approve of the plan was a stipulation that it be reviewed by the city planning commission and appropriate city departments to ensure it meets all requirements for such a project.

The proposal embraced by the city is actually a reworked plan by the trail organization that originally had the NTN buying the trailhead property and 30 adjacent acres. When the plan was floated in April, it was rejected.

Among the concerns at that time was that the city was reluctant to start selling portions of the 2,400-acre Heartwood tract before a solid plan is developed for the entire property.

Commissioner Sara Cambensy voiced a similar concern at this week's meeting, although offered full support for the trailhead project. She simply wants the process done in an appropriate time frame with careful attention paid to the property as a whole - which we agree with.

Commissioner Mike Coyne also expressed support for the trailhead project, as well as supporting the idea of allowing recreation to be the driving force behind management of the heartwood tract, which in turn could help steer other development in the right direction. We also agree with this point of view.

With these two commissioners' opinions in hand and what promises to be top-notch trailhead facilities for south Marquette's wonderful and heavily used trail system, we can't find a loser in this arrangement.

The Mining Journal




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