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New pedestrian trail in Jackson’s Ella Sharp Park opens with ribbon cutting event

The new trail replaces a 30-year-old one that was facing deteriorating surfaces and flooding.
The City of Jackson is celebrating the official opening of a new trail aimed at increasing...
The City of Jackson is celebrating the official opening of a new trail aimed at increasing pedestrian access and creating a safe walk to school.(City of Jackson)
Published: Sep. 17, 2021 at 1:10 PM EDT
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JACKSON, Mich. (WILX) - The City of Jackson is celebrating the official opening of a new trail aimed at increasing pedestrian access and creating a safe walk to school. A ribbon-cutting event for the new Ella Sharp Park Trail was held Friday, attended by residents, City of Jackson officials, and representatives from Jackson Public Schools (JPS).

The new trail runs along Elmdale Drive through Ella Sharp Park and replaces a 30-year-old trail that was facing deteriorating surfaces, flooding issues, and was located close to vehicle traffic.

With the mile-long trail is officially open, walkers, runners, and bikers can experience a new path that is wider, further set back from the street, and has a dedicated bridge taking visitors safely over a drain.

The trail also goes further than the original length of the old trail, creating a new stretch along S. Jackson Street that better connects Ella Sharp Park to Jackson’s south side neighborhood.

Since this trail is often used by students to reach Middle School at Parkside and the Sharp Park Academy, the City utilized a Safe Routes to School grant from the State of Michigan to fund the majority of the project. This improvement has been being planned for several years by the city in partnership with the school district.

JPS Superintendent Jeff Beal believes this trail will increase the number of students walking and biking to school.

“As we build up schools to support our community, we love the fact that our partnership with the City allows Jackson to create a more walkable environment. The trail system here is second to none, and we’re thrilled to be a part of that,” Beal said at the ribbon-cutting.

Parks and Recreation Director Kelli Hoover, says she is excited to see the City’s trail system expand.

“The trail system for the City of Jackson is a lifeline to residents. People use it for exercise, commuting to work, getting to school, and to reach everyday services,” Hoover said at Friday’s event. “This is a project six years in the making. I thank JPS and the City’s Engineering Division for helping make it happen.”

The new Ella Sharp Park Trail connects to the MLK Equality Trail, which is the City’s main pedestrian trail that starts in Downtown Jackson and cuts across the southern half of the City.

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