MILLERSBURG - With a few items left to go, Millersburg's new trailhead is all but finished, according to the Presque Isle County Development Commission director.
The project's latest financial report shows the $703,000 trailhead was built on budget, CDC Director Joe Libby said. Paid for with a grant from the the Department of Natural Resources and a local foundation, the project was completed without any major issues as well.
"From the county's perspective, and from the village of Millersburg's perspective, the contractors and engineers have been wonderful" to work with, he said.
An opening ceremony is in the works, Libby said, and should be sometime in January when there's enough snow for snowmobilers to use the trail.
Along with a parking lot, skating rink and pavilion with a fireplace, the trailhead will have interpretive signage as well. The facilities are next to the town's historic depot, a reminder of the days when the Detroit and Mackinac Railroad connected Alpena to Mackinaw City. The depot has been restored into a museum in a separate project, and the interpretive signs will explain the history of the depot and rail line.
The trailhead was built with funds from The Gertz Foundation, the Natural Resources Trust Fund and a Recreational Improvement Fund grant from the Department of Natural Resources Forestry Division, with other individuals and organizations contributing as well. The Top of Michigan Trails Council was involved in planning the project, according to information from the council's website.
Presque Isle County is waiting on its final reimbursement from the DNR, Libby said. Once the county's money is reimbursed, it will go back into various funds commissioners temporarily tapped for cash flow purposes, including a courthouse construction fund.
As snowmobilers wait for the first useable snow of the winter, the Top of Michigan Trails Council is looking ahead to how the trail and others in the region can be promoted and interlinked, trails coordinator Emily Meyerson said.
The Up North Trails Collaboration, in which Top of Michigan Trails Council, the Presque Isle County Development Commission and numerous other organizations participate, is looking to market NEST and others in the region, Meyerson said.
"We know trails are good for the economy, but how can we bring them together so we can see better benefits for the region," she said.
Jordan Travis can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 358-5688.