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Artwork illustrates The Saginaw Valley website that promotes tri-county economic and other cooperation.

Tri-County Regional Path Explored to Link Bay City, Saginaw, Midland

Non-Motorized Path Project of Vision Tri-County That Aims has Economic Goal

December 21, 2008       Leave a Comment
By: Dave Rogers

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Walkers and bicyclists may soon be able to travel to all three tri-county communities.

An extended non-motorized pathway linking the cities is part of an effort at regional cooperation that is beginning to bear fruit.

Terry Moultane, City of Bay City official, participated in Phase 2 of the Tri-County Regional Path Study by the Spicer Group of Saginaw.

This study was funded by the Bay, Midland, and Saginaw Community Foundations and with funds received from fundraising events, several local railtrail groups, and the Dow Chemical Company Foundation.

It is part of the Vision Tri-County project of the chambers of commerce of the three cities.

Vision Tri-County has posted a profile of the area on the Internet at and has another website with information from each of the three cities. See the website at

City Planner Jim Bedell said Phase 1 of the pathway study examined existing non-motorized pathways in each community and explored potential new routes to connect Bay City, Midland, and Saginaw.

This resulted in a plan that defines potential links, or segments, between the three communities.

Three subcommittees were established for each of the three segments being evaluated - Saginaw County to Bay County; Bay County to Midland County; and Midland County to Saginaw County. A fourth subcommittee was formed to begin looking at the financing, organizational structure, operation and management of a regional path system.

Phase 2 of the study examined the preferred and alternate routes in more detail, looking at the issues and challenges in each segment. The study rated the link from Saginaw County to Bay County as the highest priority.

A proposed pathway would follow an abandoned railroad right-of-way, running on the west side of the Saginaw River from the Morton Street area (near the former Prestolite building) to the Crow Island State Game Area (near Zilwaukee). This seven-mile corridor is presently being acquired with assistance from the Saginaw Basin Land Conservancy and the Bay Area Community Foundation Riverwalk/ Railtrail Committee for this purpose.

Within the city limits, the proposed route would become an extension of the Bay City Riverwalk/Railtrail System. A new path would be developed along the west channel of the Saginaw River south of Salzburg Avenue. Easements from Morton Street properties with river frontage are necessary for this portion of the trail.

Planning Department staff will continue to meet with the core committee of the Tri-County Regional Path Study and share information as the study or planning document is released. A presentation of the plan was given at a Vision Tri-County meeting on December 17th and the committee expects to conduct a public forum no later than March 2009.

Vision TriCounty, launched by chambers of commerce in the three counties has hired Sheril S. Tarrant in a new part-time job as the group's program director.

Tarrant, 29, a Midland resident, formerly worked for the Mid-Michigan Community Action Agency serving low-income families.

She earned a bachelor's degree from Saginaw Valley State University and is pursuing a master's in Public Administration from Central Michigan University.

Vision TriCounty's three standing committees that focus on political advocacy, economic development and quality of life issues in the three counties are Ms. Tarrant's focus, too, said Mike Seward, President of the Bay Area Chamber of Commerce.

Funding for Tarrant's work is provided by a $40,000 federal grant from the Workforce Innovation in Regional Economic Development (WIRED), Seward said. The chambers are seeking grants to continue the position, he said.

Ms. Tarrant's office is at the Bay Area Chamber of Commerce, 901 Saginaw St. She can be reached at 989-893-4567.

Ms. Tarrant works for the three chamber presidents.

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Dave Rogers

Dave Rogers is a former editorial writer for the Bay City Times and a widely read,
respected journalist/writer in and around Bay City.
(Contact Dave Via Email at

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