#Linear park or Greenway
local governmental officials
United States of America

Whereas the railroad between Big Hill Rd in Sturgis, Mi and Snow Prairie Rd in Branch county, Mi., operating on an almost 15.5 mile, 100 foot wide corridor is being abandoned and we would like to preserve the economic benefit of keeping the corridor available for future, possible railroad use through the mechanism provided by the federal government called railbanking.

Whereas the railbanking process needs the approval and sponsorship from local town, city and county governmental bodies to be completed successfully.

Whereas selling this corridor to adjacent landowners or other private parties would benefit a very small percentage of the residents of the St. Joseph and Branch county Michigan area versus selling the land to a non-profit organization intent on developing a public accessible linear park called the Tamarack Rail Trail and benefiting all residents of the two counties.

Whereas the Friends of the Tamarack Rail Trail, Inc. is the organization formed for the purpose of acquiring the land and developing this linear park. It is a Michigan non-profit corporation that can receive tax deductible donations. It’s membership is 100 percent volunteer and is open to all interested persons.

Whereas the “Friends” will make every effort possible to accommodate or provide specific solutions to all problems that might arise or be caused by this public use and, in particular, individual concerns of adjacent land owners.

Whereas the trail will provide an alternate means of connecting Sturgis, Burr Oak, and Bronson. It can be connected to the Sturgis Non-Motorized Trailway system. It will provide health, educational, economic, social, and recreational benefit to all current and potential new residents of the two counties in a safe, natural environment.

Whereas the specific local cost to buy the land, estimated at $300,000, will be raised privately without any local government money contribution. This local cost amounts to $3.00 per resident of the two counties. Local governments only need to provide sponsorship of the railbanking effort in order to acquire the land. State and federal money set aside for park or trail use only will provide the balance of the money needed. No funds will be taken from money needed to provide necessary, regular local services.

Whereas the intent of the “Friends” group will be to acquire the land within the next two years and afterwards work on the development of the trail surface. The “Friends” will assume all liabilities and maintenance expense that go along with land ownership. If the “Friends” group dissolves, all assets (land and money) will be turned over to another similar non-profit organization, local government agency(s) or State of Michigan organization capable of administering the assets.

We, the undersigned call on the town, city and county governmental bodies in the Michigan counties of Branch and St. Joesph to:

1) voice approval for the acquisition of land for the creation of the Tamarack Rail Trail without the assistance of local government funds, and

2) actively participate as a sponsor of the railbanking effort.

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The Support the Creation of the TAMARACK RAIL TRAIL petition to local governmental officials was written by Friends of the Tamarack Rail Trail, Inc. and is in the category Miscellaneous at GoPetition.