NTN, MEDC raise over $30K for Carp River Bridge project

Crowdfunding campaign a success

MARQUETTE — Plans are in the works to build a year-round bridge for non-motorized use over the Carp River in Marquette.

The project is being spearheaded by the Noquemanon Trail Network and the Michigan Economic Development Corporation, and the NTN was able to raise $30,000 through a recently launched crowdfunding campaign.

With the $30,000 goal being reached, the project will now be awarded a matching grant through MEDC’s Public Spaces Community Places program, a collaborative effort between MEDC, the Michigan Municipal League and Michigan-based crowdfunding platform Patronicity. The program allows local residents to use crowdfunding to be “a part of the development of strategic projects in their communities and be backed with a matching grant from MEDC,” according to a news release.

The project will replace a seasonal bridge over the river that trail users have utilized for the last 30 years. The fiberglass bridge will be wider, further from the water and will feature guardrails, allowing trail users to cross safely and confidently. Trails will also receive significant upgrades and reroutes on both sides of the river and will create more access points for other outdoor enthusiasts.

“The Carp River Bridge project will expand year-round access to beautiful terrain and non-motorized trails in south Marquette,” NTN Executive Director Lori Hauswirth said in the news release. “Not only does the grant provide the needed funds, but the matching component helps encourage the public to donate.”

“Expanding natural assets so that they can be enjoyed by the entire community is what great placemaking is all about,” added MEDC Senior Vice President of Community Development Michele Wildman. “This bridge will further expand an already robust recreational resource, and we are pleased to support and provide resources for this effort through our Public Spaces Community Places programs.”

The seasonal, temporary bridge stood just 1 to 2 feet over the fast-flowing river waters, making it an intimidating cross for many. With the new bridge, all users of all skill levels will be able to cross safely.

Organizers also state that winter singletrack usage has increased over the last five years or so, solidifying the importance of a permanent crossing. The temporary bridge was installed each spring and removed in the fall, leaving trails south of the river inaccessible. This leaves potential for the NTN to partner with Marquette Mountain to develop lift-served bike options.

Installing and removing the temporary bridge was a full-day operation consisting of two NTN staffers and other volunteers. The permanent bridge will free up resources for other projects in the future.

NTN previously raised $8,725 through Public Spaces Community Places to add several miles of new single-track trail near Marquette Mountain. MEDC matched that total with $7,500 in grant funding.

Public Spaces Community Places began in 2014 with MEDC providing up to $50,000 for community improvement projects across the state. As of April, MEDC has awarded more than $8.4 million in matching grants. Approximately 267 projects have been successful in achieving their goal since the program’s inception, with $9.8 million raised from more than 47,000 individual donors.

The Carp River Bridge project is one of just many community improvement projects the program supports.

“The Michigan Municipal League is a firm believer in building community wealth in ways that build on existing assets and enhance the human experience for everyone,” MML CEO and Executive Director Dan Gilmartin said in the news release. “Building a permanent bridge over the Carp River as part of the Noquemanon Trail Network does both in ways that improve the experience for all living in and visiting Marquette. That is what community wealth building is about.”

To donate to the project, visit www.patronicity.com/carpriverbridge. Communities, nonprofits and other business entities can apply for grant funding by visiting www.patronicity.com/puremichigan.

For more information on the Noquemanon Trail Network, visit www.noquetrails.org.


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