State Rep. Graham Filler and the Michigan Legislature recently approved funding for two key recreation projects in St. Johns.
A $155,500 investment will establish a connection between the Fred Meijer Clinton-Ionia-Shiawassee Trail and Townsend Road area. Another $49,900 project will improve accessibility throughout the city’s Main Park.
“St. Johns is a beautiful community with great opportunities for families to get outside and hike, bike and enjoy the outdoors,” said Filler, of Clinton County. “These projects will make our parks and trail systems accessible to even more people.”
The new trail project will create a pedestrian- and bicyclist-friendly connection between the Fred Meijer CIS Trail, the Main Park and the multi-use paths along Townsend and Scott roads.
Improvements at the Main Park will increase accessibility to the Rotary Pavilion, ice rink and sand volleyball court through the addition of paved parking, sidewalks, and accessible seating areas. The sand volleyball court will also undergo renovations.
Funding for both projects is part of Senate Bill 1028, which includes $45.6 million for 22 land acquisition and 95 recreational development projects throughout the state with revenues from the Natural Resources Trust Fund. The fund’s board approved its recommendations in December 2021 and the projects were recently approved with overwhelming support by the House and Senate. The measure is awaiting consideration from Gov. Whitmer.
Money in the Natural Resources Trust Fund comes from the development of minerals on state land – not general tax money – and is distributed on an annual basis in partnership with local governments. The money must be used for acquisition or recreational development projects, according to the Michigan Constitution.
An income tax cut is expected to take place this year thanks to fiscally conservative practices, a large increase in surplus revenue coming into the state, and a 2015 law that triggers an automatic reduction of the state income tax when general fund revenues increase at a rate greater than inflation.