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Bridge planned to connect trail to cider mill

By: Linda Shepard | Rochester Post | Published April 11, 2012

 A proposed bridge project from the Paint Creek Trail to the Paint Creek Cider Mill includes restrooms, drinking fountains and a fishing platform.

A proposed bridge project from the Paint Creek Trail to the Paint Creek Cider Mill includes restrooms, drinking fountains and a fishing platform.

Photo by Linda Shepard

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OAKLAND TOWNSHIP — A grant could pave the way for a pedestrian bridge from the Paint Creek Trail to the Paint Creek Cider Mill, near Gallagher and Orion roads.

“It is not just a pedestrian bridge,” Oakland Township Parks and Trails Planner Mindy Milos-Dale said. “There are a number of items wrapped together in one grant, including a set of outdoor restrooms, drinking fountains, a fishing platform and connecting walkways.”

The cost of the 12-foot-wide bridge over the Paint Creek and the additional items is estimated at $337,000 — of which $249,300 would be covered by a grant from the Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund. The township’s cost for the project would be $87,000, paid for with budged funds.

“We will find out if we get the grant in December,” Milos-Dale said. “If so, construction would start in the fall of 2013 or the spring of 2014.”

Plans include connecting the bridge — which will accommodate pedestrians and bicyclists — from the trail to the Paint Creek Cider Mill parking lot. “It will allow people to reach the cider mill without having to walk on Gallagher Road,” Milos-Dale said. “There is no walkway on Gallagher. This will provide a safe connection for people.”

In the future, an improvement to the intersection of Collins and Orion roads is also planned, to accommodate pedestrian crossing for those who want to travel on foot or by bike from the trail to the Oakland Township municipal complex, on Collins Road, and the connecting Bear Creek Nature Park.

A new fishing platform on the Paint Creek would be barrier free, Milos-Dale said. “The bridge and the fishing platform will be near the barrier-free parking spaces in the parking lot,” she said. “So someone can wheel or walk just a couple of steps.”

Rest rooms on the trail are also a necessary part of the bridge project. “We’ve really needed those rest rooms,” Milos-Dale said. Bathrooms inside the cider mill are open to trail users, but currently the building closes each day at 4:30 p.m. and is closed on weekends.

The historic Paint Creek Cider Mill is owned by Oakland Township and holds municipal offices. It also maintains a cider mill retail outlet.

By a unanimous vote March 27, the Oakland Township Board of Trustees approved the application for the grant from the Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund.

“This is a project that has been talked about for years,” Milos-Dale said. “Everybody knows we need it.”

“The Paint Creek Trail travels through Rochester Hills and is enjoyed by our residents,” said Rochester Hills City Council member Nathan Klomp. “It is dangerous to get to the cider mill off the trail.”

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