On the Trail!LAFF Pathway Coalition Sets Goal


Staying active and healthy is a priority for many – and what better way to do that than walking, running and biking in your own community! About 18 months ago, a group of outdoor enthusiasts in the Southern Genesee County area took on the task of bringing outdoor trails to their communities. From that idea, the LAFF (Linden, Argentine, Fenton and Lake Fenton) Pathways Coalition was formed. According to Victor Lukasavitz, a member of the Coalition, the goal is to realize their vision of the development, funding and construction of non-motorized trails and pathways to connect their communities. The committee consists of 11 members. “They got involved because they have a desire to create a healthy, active community,” says Lukasavitz. “Linden was the first to give their support and Fenton City immediately followed.”

Argentine Township was already working on plans for a trail from Lobdell Lake Road to the Linden High School campus, to Silver Lake Road, and west of the Linden city limits. Fenton Township has also given their support, and the LAFF Coalition has been contacted by Byron and Holly with interest in connecting trails. “The LAFF Coalition will work with these adjoining communities as a sister organization in any way we can,” Lukasavitz says. LAFF has also gained the support of Southern Lakes Parks & Recreation Commission and the Fenton Regional Chamber of Commerce.

Any community can benefit from having trails that create recreational opportunities. According to Lukasavitz, many people in this area currently go to other towns that have trails for biking. Not only do they enjoy the recreational activities that other communities have to offer, they spend their dollars there. “Our goal is to keep our money here and make our community more valuable,” he says. “People believe in our community and want a quality place to live, work, play and visit.” It has been reported that houses sell at a greater value and more quickly when people are healthier, and businesses are more successful in communities that have trails and walkable streets. “Economics, health, recreation – there are no negatives in the communities that have these features.” In this area, the key trail system along Silver Lake Road parallels the Shiawassee River, which will connect river travel with the bike trail – another positive.

The project will be completed in phases; and the first will be to build the trail between the city of Fenton and Linden. The estimated project cost is $2 million with an anticipated start date in 2018. “Fenton and Linden are the easiest to connect,” Lukasavitz explains, “and in the most demand.” The results of public hearings held by Genesee County Parks & Recreation indicated that the trails considered a priority in Genesee County include: Silver Lake Road Corridor, Owen, Fenton and Seymour Roads. LAFF has an engineer who should be under contract by the end of this month for the preliminary plans.

So far, the LAFF Coalition has raised approximately $26,000 for the project. It is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization that recently held a successful fundraiser in Fenton, raising  more than $16,000. A May fundraiser will benefit the LAFF Pathway and South Lakes Parks & Recreation. LAFF has no paid staff, as the members volunteer their time.

Many people have asked the Coalition about maintenance costs of the non-motorized pathway. That has already been taken care of, thanks to Fenton Township residents, Tom and Ginger Virkler. “These are the only communities I know that have a maintenance fund already established!” Lukasavitz exclaims. The Virklers, who are avid outdoor enthusiasts, have already created a fund with the Community  Foundation of Greater Flint for trail maintenance, which people can donate to. Those who wish to support the non-motorized pathway can visit cfgf.org and click “Give Now,” and then click on, “Other Giving Opportunities.”

The many benefits of outdoor exercise inspired Victor to get involved with the LAFF Pathways Coalition, as well as using the expertise he has in these types of projects. “It makes people healthier and happier,” he says with a smile, “I’ve never seen an unhappy person on a trail – unless their bike broke down.”


May is National Bike Month!

Sponsored by the League of American Bicyclists and celebrated in communities all around the U.S., National Bike Month was established in 1956 as a chance to highlight the many benefits of bicycling. The League’s hope is to encourage more people to give biking a try. Bicycling can help you save money, preserve your personal health and the health of the environment, and it offers a chance to explore your community. National Bike Month is an opportunity to celebrate the unique power of the bicycle and the many reasons we ride. The League of American Bicyclists provides resources to help you plan an event in your area, and works to increase the popularization of bicycling and to ”make biking better.” To learn more, visit BikeLeague.org.


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