Friends of the Blue Star Trail is an all volunteer organization located in Casco Township, Allegan County, Michigan. Its purpose is to assist area governmental units, the county parks department and the county road commission in the development and promotion of a proposed 20 mile recreation pathway. Read more...
Lots of trail development work has happened in these past few months. Final drawings (all 38 pages!) for Phase II Saugatuck Township (North Sector) were finalized and approved by MDOT. Our engineers bid the project in September. The construction bids exceeded the 10% overrun allowance. As a result, we had to reduce the project scope from North Street to Blue Star Highway south to Maple Avenue to Old Allegan County Road. This trail stretch is about 1.1 miles. We are in the MDOT December bid cue. Assuming that we receive bids within 10% of proposed costs, we now expect to be "moving dirt" in March.
There will be no trail construction on North Street at this time. It was determined late in the final planning that the City of Saugatuck, not the township has jurisdiction over that road even though North street residents have a Saugatuck Township address. As a result we, along with our engineers, have been talking with the City of Saugatuck about the situation. Surprisingly, these trustees were not aware of the Friends, nor the Blue Star Trail itself, nor the support that we receive from City of Saugatuck residents in the form of donations and volunteer hours. I have suggested to the City officials that a short- term ad hoc task force be formed consisting of equal numbers of City residents and Saugatuck trustees along with Friend board members and our engineering consultants. The challenge here is to work collectively to find a plan, which addresses our concerns about trail safety and connectivity and the Cities' concerns about repair costs and potential liability.
Meanwhile, the City of Douglas has been granted MDOT 2017 CMAQ money. Plans are very preliminary at this stage. The City has proposed that the trailway move north along Blue Star Highway from Center Road to Lake street. This would be accomplished by creating a bike lane on the west side of the Bridge. And south from the existing trail at Wiley Road to the City of Douglas/Saugatuck Township border near the I-196 Overpass at Exit 36. Read more...