Council's Delay of Pathway Project Raises Funding Worries

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It's a bike and pedestrian pathway that has been years in the making for South Lansing which plans to take the city's river trail all the way to Delhi Township.

On Monday the project had been slated to move forward following a vote by city council but that never happened leaving some to wonder why the issue was pulled from the agenda.

John Lindenmayer, vice president with the Mid-Michigan Environmental Action Council, or Mid-MEAC said the impact of a such a project would reap big benefits for the region.

"It's really important not only for recreation but also as a key east-west transportation non-motorized corridor for the community," he said.

Lindenmayer said he was surprised council pulled the project from Monday's agenda and worried the setback could cause the city to lose its ability collect the $1.1 million dollars in key federal and state funding. The grant would require a city match of about $250,000.

"The pathway is a huge part of the non-motorized plan so there was a little surprise there was push back," he said.

Lansing City Council member Jessica Yorko echoed Lindenmayer's sentiment on the decision.

"It really left me wondering, 'what is going on?' because there have been three public meetings, there have been numerous committee meetings," Yorko said. "So why all of a sudden are we taking it off the agenda?"

But council member A'lynne Robinson who heads up the committee overseeing the project said she had good reason for holding up the project.

"I pulled the agenda item so that we could get all the information and all of the questions answered as well as the neighbors concerns addressed," she said.

Robinson said the concerns ranged from issues dealing with safety and privacy when it came to the planned placement of the pathway.

And as far as the funding deadline, Robinson said it won't be an issue.

"We double checked, triple checked with the state as well as with the department head and were assured the funds would be there," she said.

"Is it the timeline that made everyone feel comfortable that it was just easy-breezy through committee and council? Maybe not, but is it impeding our ability as a city to receive the funds? Absolutely not."

Robinson said her delay of the project didn't mean she wasn't supportive of it and she said she plans to address the remaining questions and issues at Friday's Ways and Means Committee meeting at 1pm at City Hall.

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