On January 25, Governor Jennifer M. Granholm announced that the Michigan Department of Energy, Labor and Economic Growth (DELEG) had awarded $17.4 million in grants to 125 cities, villages, townships and counties throughout Michigan to support local energy efficiency projects. The state Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grants (EECBG) are funded through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (Recovery Act).
DELEG’s Bureau of Energy Systems (BES) awarded the EECBGs to projects that will create and retain jobs, save energy, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
Cannon Township was awarded a grant of $74,464 to help pay for a sidewalk project in the Planned Unit Development (PUD) area. The total cost of the project is estimated at $223,072. A small portion of this amount will be “in kind” contribution ($1,072, mostly for project coordination and grant administration) and the remainder will come from the Recreation Fund ($76,244) and Metro Act dollars ($71,292).
Cannon Township’s project qualifies for an energy grant because the construction of these sidewalk extensions should aid in making that area more “walkable” and thus reduce the number of vehicle trips from the neighboring home to the businesses along Belding Road and to the Cannon Township non-motorized trail, and thereby conserving on fossil fuels.
The sidewalks will begin where the PUD sidewalks end. Instead of forcing the public to walk or bicycle in the busy roadways or to walk along rough terrain, there will be an eight-foot-wide concrete pathway that will connect to Bella Vista Drive to the west and Cannon Farms Drive to the north.
Many of the business owners are excited about the additional foot or bicycle traffic this could bring. The public is also excited about the ability to easily ride bicycles or walk to the corner of Myers Lake Avenue where crosswalks were recently installed. From there they can access the Township Center trailhead of the four-mile trail that connects to several developments (Summerset Meadows and Dix Farms) and ends in Townsend Park.
Funds from the EECBG grant will allow the township to complete this project in one year, rather than having to divide it into two separate projects over a longer stretch of time.
It should allow the Bella Vista, Cannon Place and Cannon Farms residential communities safe and easy access to many local businesses as well as recreational opportunities.