Park District of Ottawa County embarks on multiuse trail project

Apr 23, 2024 | Featured, Ottawa Outdoors | 0 comments

Park District of Ottawa County Executive Director Jannah Wilson, left, and OHM Landscape Architect & Senior Project Manager, Jeremy Hinte, were on hand to explain the feasibility study to guests at the open house.

BY SHERI TRUSTY

Many longtime Marblehead residents and visitors have placed the same desire at the top of their recreational wish lists: a place to safely walk or ride a bike on the peninsula. On any given summer day, bicyclists can be seen hugging the side of the roadway on their way to the Marblehead Lighthouse or on a trip into town.

On April 18, the Park District of Ottawa County embarked on the initial public step toward a unique solution to the problem when it hosted the Marblehead Peninsula Trail Feasibility Study Public Open House. The study explores the possibility of creating multiuse trails throughout the peninsula, and it hones in on the park district’s focus on expanding active transportation options in the county.

The open house highlighted the work of OHM Advisors, who is heading the feasibility study. At the event, visitors had the opportunity to share their interests and opinions in three areas: the peninsula parks they most often frequent, their favored peninsula attractions and amenities, and potential trail uses and concerns.

Open house attendees had the opportunity to voice their preferences and interests.

OHM Landscape Architect & Senior Project Manager Jeremy Hinte calls this phase in the project “our listening stage.”

“It creates a vision of what a trail network could be in Marblehead,” Hinte said. “Tonight, for the most part, everyone has been positive.”

A strong focus of the project is connecting points of interest on the peninsula. The open house helped gather information about which attractions are most utilized.

Park District of Ottawa County Executive Director Jannah Wilson said the event will help the park district understand the public’s needs and perspectives of active transportation trails.

“That data will drive the rest of the program,” Wilson.

During the second phase of the project, OHM Advisors will develop a preliminary plan.

“We’ll look at how feasible these segments are and what the challenges are,” Hinte said.

Park District of Ottawa County Executive Director Jannah Wilson, left, explains the Marblehead Peninsula Trail Feasibility Study to Danbury Township Trustee Dave Hirt.

Wilson said the third segment of the study includes presenting a conceptual plan to the public to gather more input.

“Then we’ll go back to the drawing board and make changes as needed,” she said.

Hinte said the timing of the feasibility study was deliberate.

“It was our intention to have the first meeting now to gather the local perspectives, and we’ll have the second meeting in the summer when the tourists are here,” he said. “We want all voices.”

OHM’s far-reaching approach is exactly what the park district wanted.

“We’re really happy with what OHM is doing,” Wilson said. “We like how much the public is able to engage through the process they have.”

For more information or to share opinions on the project through an online survey, visit the Park District of Ottawa County Facebook page.

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