2017-08-09 / Front Page

Push is on for Polly Ann Trail funding

BY PHIL FOLEY
810-452-2616 •


David Howell, chairman of the Friends of the Polly Ann Trail, exhorts Friends members to help raise the remaining $25,000 needed for a grant match necessary to upgrade the trail between Dryden and Imlay City. Lapeer County has until Sept. 1 to come up with $100,000 to be eligible for a $300,000 DNR grant. 
Photo by Phil Foley David Howell, chairman of the Friends of the Polly Ann Trail, exhorts Friends members to help raise the remaining $25,000 needed for a grant match necessary to upgrade the trail between Dryden and Imlay City. Lapeer County has until Sept. 1 to come up with $100,000 to be eligible for a $300,000 DNR grant. Photo by Phil Foley DRYDEN — Under threatening skies more than 50 supporters of the Polly Ann Trail gathered at Dryden Memorial Park Friday to kick off a fundraising effort to upgrade a section of the trail.

According to David Howell, chairman of the Friends of the Polly Ann Trail, it’s the biggest single project on the Lapeer County section of the trail since the state Dept. of Natural Resources purchased the old Pontiac, Oxford and Northern Railroad bed in 1999.

In April, Joe Stock, the county’s program and operations manager, put in a grant application with the Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund for a $300,000 grant to make improvements to the 5.5-mile section of the trail between Dryden and Imlay City.


Don and Gloria Smith of Dryden Township get hot dogs ready Friday at a fund-raising kickoff event at Dryden Memorial Park. 
Photo by Phil Foley Don and Gloria Smith of Dryden Township get hot dogs ready Friday at a fund-raising kickoff event at Dryden Memorial Park. Photo by Phil Foley Howell said it’s the most heavily used section of the more than 20-mile portion of the trail in Lapeer County. The grant, however, requires a $100,000 local match.

So far the Friends have committed $25,000 and the Lapeer County Foundation has committed another $25,000. Howell said grant applications have been submitted to the DTE Foundation and the Four County Foundation, which leaves another $25,000 to $30,000 to be raised by the grant application’s Oct. 1 deadline.

Stock said it’s an all-or-nothing proposition. If they can’t raise the local match money by the Oct. 1 deadline, they’ll be out of the running for consideration by the Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund.

Along with paving the trail between Dryden and Imlay City with eight inches of crushed limestone, Howell said the grant would allow the county replace six culverts, make two bridge approach structures meet ADA standards and clear branches along the trail.

Friend’s member said the improvements will make the trail more useable for equestrians and bicyclists as well as hikers. He noted city officials in Imlay City are moving forward with plans to install lighting along the quarter-mile paved portion of the trail through the city.

The Friends have set up a crowd sourcing effort with Patronicity to reach people who live outside Lapeer County and use the trail. He said donations can be made at www.patronicity.com/LapeerPollyAnnTrail and checks can be sent directly Friends of the Polly Ann Trail, P.O. Box 123, Dryden, MI 48428.

Howell said it’s the most ambitious fundraising effort the Friends have made in their 20 years of working on the trail. In 2012 the Friends donated more than $6,000 to help build a trailhead in Imlay City and two years before that the group contributed $10,000 to help purchase a seven-acre parcel connecting the trail to General Squier Park in Dryden Township.

Nothing that trail funds are a priority for the Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund this year, Stock believes the county has a very good chance of getting state funding if they can raise the local match.

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