It's a new year and time once again to give a new look to this blog. New graphics and colors. Same bike writer!

This blog is created not only to track my own progress on my biking journey but it is intended to also assist others who have either osteo or rheumatoid arthritis or both like I do. I hope as you read about the progress I have made that it gives you inspiration and hope that you can overcome the dibilitating effects of these conditions.

If your doctor agrees that you should be capable of expanding your limits read on and don't be afraid, just listen to your body and give it challenges. Biking is a great non-impact form of exercise and greatly enhances flexibility and range of motion.

It's not a substitute for Doctor visits, taking your meds or otherwise getting off your health plan but it auguments what your Doctor does for you and can give you a better quality of life. Go for it!

Friday, September 23, 2011

Construction Begins

A sidewalk to no-where ends at wetlands, school is just beyond
  At long last the construction of the very first non motorized path in Northfield Township begins!  Hurray!  The project began with an idea and was realized through opportunity, work and perseverance.  The idea came from need, we didn't have a good pedestrian, non motorized plan or program in place.  We had many good trails nearby but no access to them unless you went by automobile.  Our elementary school had no pedestrian access that was safe, there was a series of stop and start faltering sidewalks and a large segment of the population of the community lived off of that same road, connecting them with the downtown community (shopping, banking, library and post office) was a concern.

Enter in a newspaper article about the County launching a new initiative for grants called "Connecting Communities."  Ahah!  A funding source is born! The concept of a path down Barker Road from Main Street to the Elementary School achieved connecting communities and it is the first step in a plan of interconnecting trails in Northfield Township with surrounding communities to create a network of trails for non motorized transportation to the surrounding region and State.  In Michigan there is a rails to trails path that goes from the west, Lake Michigan, across the entire state to Lake Erie and Lake Huron on the east side of the state.  Major sections of this have alreay been constructed, however many links are missing.  There are gaps in certain areas.  This will put us one step closer to major links in the surrounding communities.

The work part came with taking the idea and conceptual drawings around on a "road show" in the community.  A series of meetings with local groups, clubs and organizations followed seeking their support both in word, letter and deed. I made over a dozen presentations to the schools, chamber of commerce, library, my own board, the DDA, student council, churches, Kiwanis groups and many more.  We asked for financial contributions to help the township and downtown development authority match the grant frunding.  While our government entities posted up the necessary lions share of the matching funds, smaller contributions from these groups demonstrated widespread community support.  We worked hard to gain that and were successful and appreciative of the support we received.

In these economic times it's no easy feat to gain support of a program that, to many could appear frivolous, when there are competing essential needs and services.  Building attractive communities with amenities that offer residents healthier choices and recreational opportunities is a big part of ecconomic development, and in the long run leads to a more vibrant and sustainable community.  Telling that story and educating the populace is a big task.  But it is doable and has been accomplished.  Photos show the before conditions and construction progress.  Completion is anticipated by mid October for Phase I.  The project is multi-year phased and details can be found at this link.  Details, maps and the scope of the project can be found there. 

It's hard to imagine how happy I felt the day work began.

Color me with a BIG SMILE!

Looking east from the elementary school before

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