Pathway Joining Northville and Northville Township Begins to Take Shape
The Bennett Arboretum Pathway project is scheduled to be finished by Nov. 1.
The pathway, a half-mile-long non-motorized pedestrian route, will connect Northville Township and the city along the east side of Sheldon Road, between Six and Seven Mile roads.
Laura Cox, Wayne County Commissioner representing Plymouth, Northville and parts of Livonia, was one of the key officials in getting the project off the ground.
"It was a great idea," Cox said. "It has educational purpose as well as recreational purpose. It's in a great location. It has connectivity - it connects the township with the city. It was a really long and arduous process, but we really stuck to our guns and worked on making a design that was affordable that did all the things we wanted to do."
Cox said she began talking to local officials to decide what to do with the percentage of Wayne County Parks Millage money that came back to the community when she heard about the stalled pathway project idea.
"I have been a runner for years on and off and at that time I was running a lot in the county park there," Cox said. "We went over there and looked at the site and tried to decide what's the best way to do it."
Previously, there had never before been a pathway connected Northville Township to the city of Northville.
"We've observed for many years that there have been a fair number of people that have walked down Sheldon Road into the city," Don Weaver, Northville Township Director of Public Services said. "Which obviously is a pretty dangerous situation. There's guardrails in there and a very narrow shoulder. This will be a much more convenient means for people to come in. And it provides an excellent location to come into the city because it's right there by the Farmer's Market. People from the township will be able to visit that and get on sidewalks and go all the way downtown."
The total cost of the pathway is $1.15 million, the majority of which will be paid for by the Wayne County Parks Millage and a $450,000 grant from the Rouge River National Wet Weather Demonstration Project.
The township is contributing $170,000, while the city of Northville contributes $33,000, determined by the shared services formula in which the township covers 84 percent while the city pays the remaining 16 percent.
The city and the township will jointly maintain the pathway, according to Weaver.
The pathway will include an eight foot wide asphalt pathway, an elevated boardwalk and a steel bridge over Johnson Creek.
"It was a very big learning experience for me," Cox said. "It is a great ending to a very long story. I'm so excited and elated to see it finally being worked on and I can't wait to actually walk down it."