A roughly $500,000 project to upgrade a potholed section of Sundell Road in Alger County has wider implications than benefitting the few residents situated along this rural byway. We think the project is good for several reasons.
The north portion of Sundell Road, which is being improved over a 2-mile section, leads to Laughing Whitefish Falls, one of five scenic sites in the Upper Peninsula maintained by the Michigan Department of Natural Resources.
Eighty percent of the funding for the construction project was derived from a park roads funding program, which funnels federal money through the state to local projects to improve roads leading to state parks or other sites. The remaining 20 percent is funded by locals.
The cooperative funding allows Alger County to gain road upgrades, largely with outside money.
Improving this small stretch of rural road is expected to increase visitorship to the beautiful park at the 110-foot falls. The improvements therefore enhance Alger County's tourism, which impacts the economy and jobs, including those for the construction workers.
The road improvements will also provide lanes for bicyclists and walkers, another plus. A newly-paved road will also reduce dust and noise for area residents.
Though tourism in the region has long been a focus, advertising campaigns, including the highly-successful Pure Michigan effort have put a brighter spotlight for visitors and residents on out of the way places like Laughing Whitefish Falls.
We think it's great this project is being completed and the intergovernmental funding worked cooperatively, resulting in benefits for us all, including not the least of whom are the people of Alger County.