September 17 2009

Fred Meijer ups ante in support of trail

September 17, 2009 // 0 Comments

                        by CLIFF AND NANCY HILL For maybe the second time in his life, Dave Heyboer, chairman of the Friends of the Fred Meijer White Pine Trail (Friends), was struck speechless. It was Thursday, August 7, and Heyboer had just been presented a check for $502,240 from the Meijer Foundation to further augment a million dollars that had been previously granted some years ago. This latest donation was gifted to provide the 20% matching monies to a recently received federal grant of $2,240,000 to be used toward the final engineering and further paving of the Fred Meijer White Pine Trail (FMWPT). “It was money sent from heaven,” said Heyboer. The 92-mile-long FMWPT is a Michigan Department of Natural Resources (DNR) linear park that is the jewel of the state’s Rails-to-Trails system. Traveling north to south, it connects the cities of Cadillac and Grand Rapids. Some 35 miles have already been paved and are heavily used by countless numbers of people as a recreational destination. These users are not only local residents but also Michiganders from around the state and visitors from across the nation as well. The new monies received will go toward the complete engineering of the entire unpaved portion of the FMWPT. The balance remaining will allow paving from Cadillac southward to, hopefully, LeRoy in late spring or early summer of 2010. This southward paving is a departure from the Grand Rapids northward paving that has been previously completed. By completing the engineering, further paving can move forward without delay as new monies come available. Last Friday, September 11, a ceremony was held at the FMWPT staging area in Cadillac that was attended by 150 people. Federal, state and local officials, along with area businessmen, representatives of the Michigan Snowmobile Association, and members of the Friends were present. The guest of honor was to have been Fred Meijer, who was a little “under the weather” and unable to attend. Rob VerHeulen and Mike Julien of the Meijer Foundation ably represented Fred, himself. Friends Chairman Dave Heyboer, who—along with the group he heads—has dedicated a major portion of his life toward the goal of the complete paving of the FMWPT, couldn’t be happier […]

1 5 6 7