A car might no longer be the best way to get from Point A to Point B in Kochville Township.
SVSU, located at the heart of Kochville Township, will connect to a new 2.5 mile nonmotorized path funded by the Michigan Department of Transportation.
Saginaw County was awarded a Transportation Enhancement grant that will, in part, help fund the development of non-motorized pathways to more easily connect township residents and visitors to neighboring counties.
The new pathway will connect with Kochville Township’s two current pathways, creating an easier connection between Kochville and Saginaw Townships.
The path will begin at Elmer Lange Park near Kochville and Mackinaw roads and lead to an existing nonmotorized path at McCarty Road just east of Center.
“Kochville currently has two non-motorized pathways in place,” said Steve King, director of the Kochville Downtown Development Authority.
“The first is the Bay Road walking path that was constructed by MDOT five or six years ago that goes through the SVSU campus. The second is the Kochville walking path that begins at the power lines near Tractor Supply on Bay Road.”
King said that the existing pathway ends at Elmer Lange Park near Kochville Township Hall. A resident could use the existing pathway to reach the new portion, or drive over and park behind the township hall.
“A proposal for an extended path was developed three or four years ago and brought up again in 2010,” King said. “MDOT continued to set aside funds for a walking path between Kochville and Saginaw townships, and it finally came to be.”
King said the project will take two to three months to finish and should be completed by the end of summer 2012.
The new pathway is part of both the township and the region’s long term plans.
“The long term region-wide goal is for residents to be able to get anywhere in the county and eventually anywhere in the region simply by taking a walk or hopping on their bike,” King said. “For an area that typically relies on cars, this is a great opportunity.”
Steve Hocquard, assistant vice president of campus facilities, said that he is hopeful the creation of more inter-county paths will eventually allow residents and students to not need a car to get to stores or the mall.
“Nonmotorized pathways are a good idea,” Hocquard said. “In a world that has been overtaken by the automobile, these pathways provide an opportunity for exercise as well as family time to go out and ride bikes together.”
The new path will also provide an opportunity for students who live off campus to travel more easily if they do not have a car.
Physics senior Michael Saloka lived six miles off campus last summer and biked to campus every day to get to work.
“Since there were no sidewalks on the back roads, I had to take Bay Road and was almost hit numerous times,” Saloka said. “It would be great to be able to bypass that hazard with a trail specifically for those who are walking or on a bike.”
Saloka said the pathway will be even more useful if people choose to use it to access the shopping available on Tittabawasee Road.
King said that Kochville and Saginaw Townships are already ahead of the curve for nonmotorized paths compared to other areas in the state.
“The pathway we already have is just a start,” King said. “We have some nice trails in the region that other areas in the state would like to have.”
King also said the community continues to work to incorporate SVSU into the township’s business district.
“There is always talk about construction near SVSU to add businesses geared toward the college population, but no firm plans are set at this time,” King said.