The county hopes to raise $80,000 to finish the 3.6-mile Spoonville Trail in Crockery Township. The project, which began in 2014 with the construction of the M-231 highway, will be the sole north-south connector between regional pathways of the Grand Connection.
The trail crosses the Grand River alongside the highway. On the north side of the river, it connects with the 18-mile North Bank Trail from Grand Haven to Grand Rapids, the connection point of which is expected to be completed in spring 2019, around the time the Spoonville section should be complete.
On the south side, the Ottawa County Parks Commission is working to complete the Idema Explorers Trail, a 28-mile greenway.
The first phase of the Spoonville Trail has been open since its completion in September 2016, beginning at North Cedar Drive in Robinson Township and ending at the intersection of 120th Avenue and Leonard Road in Crockery Township.
The second phase to be completed will take hikers and bikers through the Terra Verde Golf Course on a loop from Leonard Road to Nunica. The project is expected to be completed in late spring.
The total cost of the project, around $2.3 million, has largely been funded by the Michigan Department of Transportation’s Transportation Alternatives Programs, Ottawa County and the Michigan Department of Natural Resources Trust Fund, in addition to donors and grants.
Ottawa County land use planning specialist Danielle Bouchard said she hopes the GoFundMe campaign generates widespread support, but the county is exploring other funding through grant submissions and community partnerships.
An educational terrace and natural area are planned for the project to showcase Native American culture and heritage, with exhibit photos of the artifacts unearthed during the construction of M-231. In 2014, excavators discovered pottery shards, stone tools and food remains dating back about 350-800 years, Bouchard said.
“This evidence concluded that this site along the Grand River was used for harvesting wild rice, fishing and food storage,” she said.
County officials say these sites will provide opportunities for school field trips.
Donations of $1,000 earn donors a free Ottawa County Parks pass for the 2019 season, while $10,000 or more earns a gift card to Crockery Creek Saloon. Donations of $25,000 will result in a free round of golf at Terra Verde Golf Course.
To make a tax-deductible donation, visit gofundme.com/spoonville-trail.