INGHAM COUNTY REGIONAL TRAILS AND PARKS PLANNING PROCESS
In November 2014, Ingham County voters approved a new millage to support the development of a county-wide regional trails and parks system. The .5 mill levy will raise an estimated $3.5 million per year over the next six years. The first step the County took upon its passage was to solicit for a consulting team to help lay the groundwork for how to allocate the funds and what projects to invest in to maximize the impact of this new revenue. In July 2015, Ingham County hired the consulting team of The Mannik & Smith Group along with Michigan Trails and Greenways Alliance to do this project.
The primary goal of this project was to assist the Ingham County Trails and Parks Task Force in determining the expenditure of millage dollars for their trails and parks. The proposed work effort involved development of a County Regional Trails and Parks Plan, including construction and maintenance costs, as well as recommendations for priority projects and best practices.
In brief, the project highlights consist of:
- Detailed inventory and assessment of existing regional non-motorized trails, including both land and water trails, bridges, and park facilities.
- Analysis of local conditions, destinations, and evaluation of corridors and routes presenting trail opportunities.
- Determination of planned and desired trails.
- Engaging the Task Force, community stakeholders, and the public for preferred routes and corridor prioritization.
- Formulation of a 6-year capital improvement plan for trails and county parks.
- Development of a model for project ranking and selection.
- Recommendations for millage fund category spending allocations for trails and county parks.
Current information and planning documents for both existing and proposed trails were been reviewed. A detailed inventory and assessment of the existing trails, bridges, County parks, and water trails was completed. The outcome of this first phase was to establish existing conditions and current plans. A base Regional Trails and Parks map was used as a basis for public and stakeholder input.
Public input was sought at workshops taking place around the County to receive suggestions and information from participants. The workshops focused on refining the future trail network. An online survey was available to the public regarding the proposed trail network and gaps to identify opinions on priorities for trail construction.
The Ingham County Regional Trails and Parks Plan document was created, and detailed projected/estimated costs for trail construction, maintenance, or repair, and identified a method for project ranking and selection. A 6-year capital improvement plan was formulated, including a method for project evaluation and selection of trails and park projects. Maximizing millage dollars by leveraging available grant funds was an important consideration of the process. This last phase included recommendations for spending percentages of the identified millage categories. The Regional Trails and Parks Plan document was developed through a series of drafts, incorporating the comments of the Task Force over several months. The final draft with supporting graphics was be presented to the Task Force for final approval and adoption.
The project ran through mid-Winter of 2016.
PRESENT STATUS AND NEXT STEPS:
The Ingham County Regional Parks and Trails Task Force met 5 times to deliberate on the network plan. The meeting held on March 7, at 5:00 p.m.. at the Ingham County Human Services Building considered the draft plan and made further decisions about the application process.
- Download Meeting Agenda
- Download Meeting Materials
INVENTORY AND ANALYSIS – WHAT DO WE HAVE?
Current and past planning documents, recreation, and demographic information relevant to the project were collected in order to begin the project. Trail plans included in parks and recreation, transportation, and comprehensive master plans in all of the county’s local municipalities which would indicate local trails (land and water), connection priorities, and planned projects were part of the collection. Also included in the review were existing and proposed trails in the adjacent six counties which offer inter-connectivity and trail opportunities.
Another step was the collection of information from other regional trail efforts and millage-funded networks from across the country to help with a strategy for percentage allocations and ranking criteria. View the information collected thus far here. Ultimately, the goal is to develop an equitable and transparent model for the evaluation and ranking of projects and the expenditure of the Ingham County trails and parks millage funds.
PUBLIC INPUT PROCESS:
Six public workshops were held in October-November in the following areas of the county: South Lansing/Delhi Township, Meridian Township, East Lansing, North Lansing, Mason/Leslie/Dansville/Stockbridge, and Williamston/Webberville.
The detailed inventory informed the development of an ArcGIS map showing potential regional trail connections, and served as a primary tool to gather public input.
An online survey was made available to those who were not able to make the sessions. Highlights from the public input sessions and the online survey results were presented to the task force at their December 10th meeting. A more complete analysis of the public input was made available in the final report to the task force.
In addition, a focus group meeting with the Ingham County Road Commission, all area parks and rec officials, the Ingham County Health Department, Tri-County Regional Planning Commission, and the Michigan Department of Transportation generated additional input.
- Download Meeting Agenda
- Download Meeting Minutes