Schmidt supports funding for area recreation projects

LANSING, Mich. — State Sen. Wayne Schmidt on Wednesday joined members of the Senate Committee on Appropriations in approving funds to improve recreation projects across the state — including eight in the 37th Senate District.

“Michigan is home to some of the best outdoor opportunities in the country, and we need to make sure we both improve and preserve these resources for future generations,” said Schmidt, R-Traverse City. “Completion of these projects will also help improve opportunities in the area for locals to enjoy and for those who travel north to see just how great northern Michigan and the Upper Peninsula really are.”

Senate Bill 1028 would authorize the Natural Resources Trust Fund to use $45.6 million for 22 land acquisition and 95 recreational development projects throughout Michigan — including projects in Antrim, Charlevoix, Emmet, Grand Traverse and Mackinac counties. The projects also include a match of local funds, bringing the total combined investment to over $86 million.

Under the bill, the four counties would receive nearly $3 million for local outdoor and recreation projects. Brief details can be found below:

  • Antrim County: $300,000 for improvements to Grass River Natural Area river access.
  • Charlevoix County: $300,000 for Boyne City’s Open Space Pathway.
  • Emmet County: $298,000 for the city of Petoskey to make upgrades to the Winter Sports Park Hockey Rink Pavilion.
  • Emmet County: $865,300 for the Milton Road to Alanson Trail corridor acquisition in Littlefield Township.
  • Emmet County: $187,500 for the city of Petoskey Skyline Recreation Area.
  • Grand Traverse County: $467,600 for forest acquisition in Traverse City and Garfield Township.
  • Mackinac County: $200,300 for the Clark Township Peek-a-Boo Trail.
  • Mackinac County: $300,000 to help the Department of Natural Resources make improvements at Straits State Park.  

The NRTF is supported by interest earnings from the development of state-owned mineral rights. The fund’s dollars are constitutionally restricted to recreation improvements and land acquisitions. The Legislature has no authority in the project selection process, it can only choose to support or deny the full funding recommendations from the board.

“I’ve long supported the Natural Resources Trust Fund and efforts to improve access to Michigan’s one-of-a-kind outdoor opportunities,” Schmidt said. “I’m glad to see another round of projects being funded and look forward to the completed improvements throughout 37th District communities.”

Since 1976, the Trust Fund had granted more than $1.3 billion in grants to local governments and state agencies for projects in all 83 counties. A complete list of projects can be found here.

SB 1028 now heads to the full Senate for consideration.

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Senator Wayne Schmidt