First phase of Pentwater-Hart trail nearing completion.

May 29, 2019

First phase of Pentwater-Hart trail nearing completion.

While high water has closed Long Bridge in Pentwater and forced the cancellation of a June 29 Pentwater-Hart Trail bicycle event, the first phase of the Pentwater-Hart Trail is nearing completion.

“It’s two big steps forward, one small step back, said Claudia Ressel-Hodan, chairperson of the Pentwater–Hart Trail committee. “MDOT helped coordinate our trail plan with the current re-pavement of the road shoulders along Monroe Road and Sixth Street.  This work, at this time, represents a significant savings for the trail project.”  “Improving the shoulders of the road will help provide safer passage for walkers, runners and cyclists and is part of the overall trail connection between Pentwater and Hart.

“Unfortunately an event planned to raise funds and increase awareness of the trail project has been cancelled as the bridge is closed.”  The Saturday June 29 “Roll for the Trail” has been cancelled, but trail supporters hope more people will participate in a guided Friday evening “Family Fun Ride” through Pentwater instead. Information on that event can be found at Pentwaterharttrail.com                                                                     

Meanwhile, trail funds have allowed the shoulder to be paved approximately five feet from the road edge, as opposed to a normal one-foot paved shoulder. Trail funds will also cover the cost of future signage indicating the widened shoulder is intended for bicycle and pedestrian use.

Costs for this phase of the trail will be covered using part of a $1.4 million trail grant secured by former Senator Goeff Hansen last year. The Oceana County Road Commission is the acting fiduciary agent for this portion of the trail project. Ressel-Hodan noted the remainder of this grant will be used for continuing survey work and to secure matching funds and future grants.

The Oceana County Road Commission approved use of right-of-way for the trail last fall. The proposed trail would be constructed in right-of-way along Wayne Road to Harrison, Harrison east to 72nd Avenue and along 72nd Avenue to Hart. The paved trail would be separated from the road’s edge by a safety buffer and will connect to the North end of the William Field Hart-Montague Trail.

The goal of the Pentwater-Hart Trail Committee, founded in fall 2015, is to raise $5 million, most of which will be derived from grants. To preserve and maintain the Pentwater-Hart Trail, the committee has created a “Friends” group whose volunteer members currently work on creation of the trail and in the future will maintain the trail to the safety standards of the appropriate government agencies. Fiduciary responsibility resides with the Village of Pentwater and funds are held by the Oceana Community Foundation. Funds raised in excess of the goal shall be placed in a reserve fund within the foundation, and shall be used solely for trail maintenance.

Anyone interested in becoming a “Friend of the Pentwater-Hart Trail” may find a membership form on Pentwaterharttrail.com                                                                                                  

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