Vital section of riverfront trail in Michigan completed

Posted at 12:35 AM, Jun 17, 2017

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (AP) — Grand Rapids has completed a section of a riverfront trail that will eventually connect the western Michigan city’s downtown to a larger trail system.

City officials gathered Thursday for a ribbon-cutting ceremony at the new Coldbrook Edge Trail. The trail covers nearly a quarter-mile along the eastern bank of the Grand River, The Grand Rapids Press  reported.

David Marquardt, director of the city’s Parks and Recreation Department, said the $1.8 million project is a small but important piece of the broader project. The riverfront trail will eventually total 2 miles connecting the downtown trail system to the larger White Pine Trail system.

“Coldbrook Edge showcases how we’re tearing down walls and opening connections to the Grand River,” said John Morrison, executive director of the West Michigan Trails & Greenway Coalition.

The project is funded by the coalition, a Michigan Department of Transportation grant, the Monroe North Tax Increment Finance Authority and the city’s capital fund. The land was acquired through a grant from the Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund.

A wide concrete path is featured along with a new deck overlooking the river and a large tree-lined ledge that is the crest of the flood wall.

“This project is a decade in the making,” Mayor Rosalynn Bliss said. “We are standing on what was once the city’s first rail line.”