Detroit's Belle Isle gets $750,000 to build a 6-mile loop trail

One of 22 projects in 17 states to receive U.S. Department of Interior grants

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DETROIT – The U.S. Department granted Belle Isle Park $750,000 to build a 6-mile-long trail around the island, according to press release from the federal agency

The handicap-accessible trail will circle the state park in the Detroit River and connect existing park attractions. Here's the project description provided by the Interior department: 

Detroit’s Belle Isle Park is 982-acre island park in the Detroit River that long served the city residents. This proposed project would lead to the development of 6-mile ADA accessible multi-use trail loop and related support amenities around the park perimeter that would connect several existing park attractions so that they are more accessible to non-motorized park users.

State and park officials have been planning the paved trail for over a year.

The $750,000 will be awarded to Michigan's Department of Natural Resources through the federal Outdoor Recreation Legacy Partnership program. It's part of a public-private partnership designed to support private donations with public dollars. 

The Belle Isle project is one of 22 projects in 17 states announced Wednesday. The Interior department awarded a total of $13.3 million to support $21.1 million in funding from local governments, private firms and non-profit organizations to improve accessibility of playground, create canoe and kayak launches and fishing piers, restore vacant industrial land for park uses, and other investments. 

“Every kid deserves the opportunity to get outside and play," said U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke. "Whether it's downtown Detroit or rural Wyoming, investing in public lands is an investment in communities. The Outdoor Recreation Legacy Partnership program is an innovative public-private partnership which revitalizes communities through improving infrastructure, creating jobs, and enhancing neighborhoods. It connects people to the great outdoors by encouraging and enabling a variety of recreational opportunities in under-served communities.”

ORLP is funded through the Land and Water Conservation Fund. Congress created the ORLP program, in 2014 to complement the agency's existing LWCF State and Local Assistance Program.

Here's a list of all projects awarded the grants: