Ironwood, Gogebic projects approved for MDNR grants
December 14, 2018
By RALPH ANSAMI
In February, the Gogebic County Board passed a resolution supporting an application to the trust fund for development of three miles of the Iron Belle.
The total project cost is $1,428,000.
Board members were told comparative scoring ranked the protect high on the DNR trust fund list.
The bulk of the project costs will come from a Michigan Department of Transportation TAP grant of $745,300. A DNR mini grant will provide $173,900 in funding, with the local contributions coming from the Gogebic Range Health Foundation for $200,000 and Western U.P. Convention and Visitors Bureau, at $8,900.
December 2020 construction is anticipated.
The total Ironwood mountain bike trail project cost is pegged at $4.1 million.
“Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund grants make a long-lasting impact in communities across Michigan, providing a positive impact on the lifestyles of Michiganders through better public access to outdoor recreation opportunities, while giving a boost to regional economies,” said Gov. Rick Snyder.
The board this year recommended $26 million in grants through the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, including $7.4 million for 34 recreation development projects and $18.6 million for 30 land acquisition projects.
Several projects involve the non-motorized Ironwood to Detroit Iron Belle Trail.
Grant recipients committed to providing matching funds of $15.9 million.
The board considered 158 applications seeking more than $71 million in funding. In a competitive process, all eligible applications were evaluated on scoring criteria developed by the board.
A restricted fund established in 1976 to support land conservation and outdoor recreation, the trust fund is financed through interest earned on funds derived from development of publicly owned minerals such as oil and natural gas. In the past 40-plus years, the fund has granted more than $1 billion to state and local units of government.
The board’s recommendations go to the state legislature for review as part of the appropriations process. Upon approval, the legislature will forward a bill for the governor’s signature.