Published April 2, 2013
Carabelli named to Macomb Orchard Trail Commission
By Brad D. Bates
SHELBY TOWNSHIP — As Macomb County officials looked for a member of the county’s Board of Commissioners to take a seat on the Macomb Orchard Trail Commission, no candidate knew the trail better than Shelby Township’s James Carabelli.
Carabelli, who said he regularly uses the trail with his family, has known the trail as long as anyone because he was on the Shelby Township Board of Trustees when the trail’s construction was first discussed.
“When the trail first came together, I was on the Board of Trustees of Shelby Township, and it was going to be limestone at that time,” Carabelli said.
“I thought, if we’re going to do this and we have the budget, we should pave it so everyone can use that trail, from strollers to rollerblades to wheelchairs. (The Macomb Orchard Trail) was one of the things I was very proud to be a part of when I was part of the board.”
Carabelli was named to the trail commission to replace Commissioner Don Brown March 14 and will serve a five-year term on the commission.
“I am very appreciative of the confidence of the (county) executive and Board of Commissioners to appoint me,” Carabelli said. “I will do my due diligence to make sure the trail continues to be one of the jewels of Macomb County.”
Carabelli said the major significance of the trail commission is that it gives local governments a voice in the trail’s management, as it features representatives from all of the municipalities along the trail.
“The collaboration of all the communities involved, their input, is the most important thing,” Carabelli said. “For all the communities to have a say and their input in the maintenance of the trail is very important.”
Shelby Township’s voice on the trail commission is Parks, Recreation and Maintenance Director Joe Youngblood, who said he is eager to welcome Carabelli to the trail commission.
“Jim has been a big backer of trails and pathways in southeast Michigan at the county level,” Youngblood said. “Jim has got a lot of projects started and seen them finish. He brings a lot of good qualities to our trail commission.”
Carabelli said he hopes to continue building and promoting the trail with projects like this summer’s plan to connect it with the city of Utica’s hike and bike trail, which will in turn connect Stony Creek Metropark and Lake St. Clair Metropark.
“Hike and bike trails are something that people realize is important, not only for exercise; it’s important for economic development,” Carabelli said. “And if you go to any of the parking lots (along the Macomb Orchard Trail) in midsummer, the parking lots are full, and you see all the empty bike racks on the cars.”