Despite rain, local school and government officials celebrated the opening of the County Line Road pedestrian path Wednesday during an official ribbon-cutting ceremony at .
Community and school leaders hope the path improves safety for students en route to the high school while also providing recreation opportunities for area residents.
The 10-foot wide, 1.2-mile long asphalt path runs along County Line Road between the north entrance of the high school and the north side of Crapaud Creek.
"This is probably one of the most exciting things that has happened in a long time in our community," New Baltimore Mayor Larry Smith after the ceremony.
Smith, who lives near the path, said he thinks it will benefit the area by helping keep students and others who walk down the road safe. Prior to the path’s installation, Smith described walking down County Line Road as, “a suicide mission.”
"This is terrible to walk down here," he said of the road before the path was built. "Cars are going 55 mph and it’s just a matter of time before someone gets hit."
Funding for the $500,000 project came from various sources, including Ira Township and St. Clair County. Rep. Candice Miller’s office also helped secure a $250,000 federal grant to move the project forward. Anchor Bay Schools contributed approximately $115,000, the city of New Baltimore contributed about $120,000 and another approximate $50,000 came from Macomb County, Smith noted.
Future plans for the pedestrian path include extending it into a of non-motorized pedestrian paths running through various communities in the area.
Smith hopes the existing County Line Road path will eventually extend north through Richmond. He added that it would cost about $300,000 to extend the path south of Crapaud Creek to M-29.
In addition, a $500,000 bridge replacement project will begin on County Line Road near Crapaud Creek around Sept. 15. He added that the road might be reduced to one lane at that time, causing some traffic interruption.