With a final corporate gift from E & A Credit Union this week, the Community Foundation of St. Clair County has exceeded its $200,000 goal in order to receive a conditional commitment grant from the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) for the Blue Water River Walk Trail. Meeting this goal helps ensure the Foundation’s ability to take advantage of an additional $211,000 MDOT grant to complete a multipurpose pedestrian trail that will extend from the current sidewalk in front of the Great Lakes Maritime Center all the way to the Military Street Underpass on the south side of Desmond Landing. “Reaching this funding goal means the Trail will be complete by the end of July of 2013,” says Doug Touma, chair of the Blue Water Land Fund, a supporting nonprofit corporation of the Community Foundation. “The River Walk Trail will be much more than a 10 foot wide strip of asphalt,” said Touma. “Thanks to the interest and support of this community we are now moving on to the second phase of the River Walk Trail campaign.” And,the news just keeps getting better. The River Walk Project has received a $2,000,000 grant to help cover the majority of the costs associated with restoring the plant and wildlife habitat along the entire shoreline of the River Walk. The grant comes from NOAA’s Great Lakes Habitat Restoration Program. The restoration of the plant and wildlife habitat is one of 4 major elements of the entire Blue Water River Walk project. The other three elements are:
1) The restoration and re-purposing of a historic railroad ferry dock which will convert it into a beautiful viewing platform and patio deck. The ferry dock will re-open to the public in July of 2013.
2) The River Walk Trail will be multi-purpose pedestrain path, paved with asphalt, and running the entire length of the shoreline. The Trail will be completed by the end of July 2013. It is a critical link in the Bridge to Bay Trail system.
3) Construction of a fishing pier extending out into the St. Clair River, made from a re-purposed railroad or pedestrain bridge.