|Tour de TART cyclists chill.
If you’ve ridden the Leelanau Trail from Traverse City to Suttons Bay, you know what happens at Lakeview Hills Road – the pavement ends. For the next 6.5 miles, it’s a dirt two-track.
A year from now, that two-track will likely be a memory for trail users who have been pining for pavement for years. Why?
The Ticker has just learned that the public phase of a fundraising campaign to lay that final stretch of asphalt kicks off next Friday, July 22 – appropriately, in tandem with the 11th annual Tour de Tart bicycle ride from Traverse City to Suttons Bay.
Partial credit for the long-awaited push to pave goes to TART Trails Executive Director Julie Clark, who joined the organization little more than a year ago. A few weeks after coming on board, Clark hit the trail with her two young daughters in tow. By trail’s end she had decided: It was time to pave the last stretch of that 15.5-mile trail.
More momentum came by way of a $470,000 Transportation Enhancement grant that TART received from the Michigan Department of Transportation via the Leelanau County Road Commission, says TART’s Pam Darling. That grant inspired the group to get busy making a $500,000 match.
TART launched the leadership phase of the Leelanau Trail Capital Campaign on May 5, and as of this week, the organization is closing in on the halfway point of its goal, says Darling.
TART Trails’ portion of the total project (just under $1 million) will fund the paving of the 6.5-mile gap between Lakeview Hills and Revold roads and an additional half mile north of Suttons Bay to Dumas Road. The Village of Suttons Bay is working to secure funding for improvements to the trail and its crossing over M-22, within the village limits.
Wilcox Associates in Cadillac is doing the design and engineering. The construction side of the project will go out for bid in January 2012 with a targeted completion date of July , Darling says – just in time for the next year’s Tour de TART.
“Finish paving the trail,” she says. “That’s been the number one comment on our post-event survey for years.”
Today is the last day to register for the Tour de TART at the $30 rate. Kids under 12 are $5. All adult registrants get a pair of Tour de TART socks; children get bike-spoke beads.
Event at a Glance:
Ride your bike from the historic train depot in Traverse City to the shores of Suttons Bay.
Refresh yourself at the Suttons Bay Marina. Enjoy local microbrews, dinner catered by EuroStop Café (beef, salmon and veggie burgers) and floats made with Coldstone Creamery vanilla ice cream and Wild Bill’s Root Beer.
Rest on a bus ride back to Traverse City.