The city in 2014 will add to the Kalamazoo River Valley Trail a nearly 5-mile trail to bring the communities of Comstock and Galesburg together.
The city’s trail program coordinator, Kyle Lewis, said the new connecting trail will head east from the current ending point of River Street in Comstock and end at 35th Street in Galesburg. This section will follow Kings Highway and go through River Oaks County Park near the Kalamazoo River.
The construction for this connecting section will cost about $2.1 million and begin shortly into 2014. Included in the cost are the trail construction, engineering, land acquisition, and a maintenance endowment to ensure future maintenance of this section of trail, according to Lewis.
To raise funds for the new section of trail, the KRVT has been raising money through different events such as the Fall Color Cruise and Trick or Trail events, both of which happened in October 2013.
Connecting the communities of Comstock and Galesburg is not all KRVT is preparing for. The KRVT planners also hope to start construction in early 2015 on a trail connection for WMU, but that project is still in the planning stages. The city is finalizing engineering plans and land acquisition for the connection, Lewis said.
The WMU connection project consists of a trail along Michikal Street to the current trail ending point on Westnedge Avenue.The trail would then connect to existing trails to the facilities on WMU’s campus. The estimated cost for this section is $635,000, which includes construction and endowment.
WMU senior Sam Kwekel has used the KRVT. “[Promotion of a bike community] would make WMU healthier and more eco-friendly,” Kwekel said.
As a whole, usage of the KRVT has been increasing from year to year. In 2012, the trail had 155,000 uses, whereas in 2011, it had 134,000 uses.
“This year we’re on pace for over 180,000 [uses],” Lewis said.