Key Parcel Extends Millennium Trail (MI)

Rochester, MI, 1/28/02 – The Trust for Public Land, a national land conservation organization, announced today the sale of 2.5 miles of abandoned railway to the City of Rochester. The rail corridor will be developed as a pedestrian and bike path and is a key link in the regional Southeast Michigan Millennium Trail.

The acquisition of the 2.5 -mile section of the Grand Trunk Western Railroad parcel is one of the critical links between the communities of Rochester and Sylvan Lake in Oakland County, and will add momentum to this citizen-led, community-supported initiative. This section of trail passes through the city of Rochester, running parallel to the Clinton River and connects the river to existing public open space. This acquisition has been in process for approximately one year with the Trust for Public Land providing interim funding for the property purchase.

“TPL’s presence has expedited the process and demonstrated an ability to get results,” notes City Manager Ken Johnson “They understood it was a community goal to acquire the trail, and they provided the financial and real estate support we needed to complete the deal. TPL played a vital role and we thank them for their efforts in this important acquisition.”

The City is also pleased with the grant support from the Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund. The Department of Natural Resources Grand provides 74% of the cost of the property acquisition. The City is providing the remaining 26% from its Capital Improvement Fund budget.

Although one of the most park poor cities in the nation, Detroit and its surrounding counties are making a concerted effort to develop a greenway system that uses state recreation areas and Metroparks as hubs, connecting inner city Detroit riverfront with outlying communities of Southeast Michigan.

Regional efforts are underway to convert miles of unused railroad property into a network of greenways and trails that will connect the seven-county area. The Southeast Michigan Millennium Greenway Trail will provide bikers, skaters and hikers a tour of picturesque small towns, suburban open land and an urban mix of industrial plants, skyscrapers and riverfront views as they travel from the outer reaches of the corridor into the urban center of Detroit.

Founded in 1972, the Trust for Public Land specializes in conservation real estate, applying its expertise in negotiations, public finance, and law to protect land for public use and enjoyment. The Trust for Public Land has protected over 1.3 million acres of land across the nation. In Michigan, TPL has protected over 55,718 acres of land, is an active partner in the Lower Detroit River Ecosystem and has assisted various communities throughout the state in their conservation efforts. As part of the Southeast Michigan Millennium Trail, TPL has played a role in securing over 30 miles of railway throughout the seven county region.