More of Jackson's main pedestrian trail will be getting an upgrade in the coming years. The City of Jackson recently received a $300,000 grant from the Michigan Department of Natural Resources (DNR) Trust Fund Grant.
The City's Parks and Recreation Department says the funds will be used to reconstruct the MLK Equality Trail from W. Prospect Street to S. West Avenue, which is a 0.6 mile portion of the pathway. While no start date is planned yet for that stretch of the trail, officials previously accepted federal funds to rebuild the trail from Merriman Street to W. Prospect Street. Those projects are planned for 2024 and 2025.
The current pathway is more than 20 years old, has lots of uneven surfaces, and is not wide enough for safe sharing. The new trail will be made of concrete to provide a more consistent surface and widened to accommodate more traffic. These improvements will also make the trail more accessible for people with disabilities. The City is now seeking further funding to replace the trail section from S. West Avenue to Weatherwax Drive, a project that would complete the effort to resurface the entire trail in the City of Jackson.
This recent news of State funds provides another boost to the MLK Equality Trail, which is currently receiving 62 new LED light installations from W. Prospect Street to Weatherwax Drive. Also funded by a DNR grant, the light installations will improve safety on the trail, along with allowing residents to use it more frequently during the darker months of the year. It also means the entire length of the 3.7 mile trail will soon have lighting. The installations started on Monday, July 11 and will take place through Oct. 2022.
The trail starts in Downtown Jackson at the intersection of Cooper Street and Washington Avenue. It goes through several south and west side residential neighborhoods before transitioning at Weatherwax Drive in Summit Township. This is where the trail turns into Jackson County's Falling Waters Trail, which can be used to reach Lime Lake County Park and the Village of Concord.