Transmission towers line the ITC corridor west of Schoenherr Road in Sterling Heights. City officials want to build a hike-bike trail that connects Edison Court to the future Lakeside town center area and M-59.

Transmission towers line the ITC corridor west of Schoenherr Road in Sterling Heights. City officials want to build a hike-bike trail that connects Edison Court to the future Lakeside town center area and M-59.

Photo by Patricia O’Blenes

Sterling Heights addresses resident pathway concerns

By: Eric Czarnik | Sterling Heights Sentry | Published December 4, 2023


STERLING HEIGHTS — Sterling Heights resident Pat Mitchell lives in a neighborhood next to the ITC corridor and its transmission lines, near Schoenherr Road, north of Clinton River Road.

During a Nov. 7 Sterling Heights City Council meeting, she explained her concern about a proposed hike-bike path veering too close to residents’ property lines.

According to city officials, the proposed hike-bike path would be roughly 2.5 miles long and would let people travel from the Edison Court area by Clinton River Road northward along the ITC corridor and eventually connect to the future Lakeside town center area, as well as M-59. City officials said the proposed trail’s purpose is, among other things, to make the city better-suited for pedestrians.

A January 2022 Sterling Heights strategic planning session estimated the project’s cost at around $2.5 million, and city officials plan to use American Rescue Plan Act funding to pay for it.

Mitchell said she isn’t necessarily against a trail, but she doesn’t want someone walking into someone else’s backyard.

“The path that was originally proposed was going to take down a lot of trees. It’s a beautiful forest there. We have deer,” Mitchell said. “I’m just asking that you reconsider and put this back into the ITC corridor where it will not disturb the forest or the wildlife.”

City Manager Mark Vanderpool stressed that the project is “still in the preliminary design phase,” adding that construction is set to begin next year. He said the project was first proposed over a year ago and has been mentioned during town hall meetings.

Vanderpool said the ITC pathway will be set 50 feet away from the rear property line in the Saddlebrook neighborhood, adding that the setback is “greater than many other areas of the city where we have (a) pathway.”

He explained that while some trees will need to be removed to complete the trail, he added that the city will replace trees and preserve others along the rear property line.

He said the trail would have natural barriers like wild grasses too.

“You really won’t be able to see the pathway from the rear of your property lines,” he said.

Sterling Heights Councilman Henry Yanez said he visited the Saddlebrook subdivision and saw how the property looks. Yanez believes that there are “35 or 40 yards of wooded area” between the rear property line and the open ITC corridor. He said he would prefer that the trail be closer to the ITC corridor to avoid cutting trees near that property line.

Even so, he praised the proposed path as “an incredibly important connection.”

“This is really going to be an important pathway to move people back and forth, to get exercise, or you know, whatever they want to do,” Yanez said. “But we want to make sure that the people who have invested their time, effort and money into their homes and their neighborhoods, you know, get to keep the benefit of that.”


‘Something that I’ve dreamed of’
The conversation over the hike-bike path continued at the Nov. 21 City Council meeting. During public comment, Ben Sroka, a former Sterling Heights resident, said he loves cycling and fully supports the ITC corridor trail idea.

“It’s been something that I’ve dreamed of and written on maps and stuff like that,” he said. “I hate to say I’m a nerd about it, but I love it so much, and I really am excited to see it happen.”

In response, Vanderpool said the city eventually wants to add a path from 14 Mile Road that goes along the ITC corridor to the Clinton River too, along with a pedestrian bridge going over the river.

“As you know, working with the utility companies like ITC is a real challenge, getting these paths approved,” he said. “But we completed the first phase, which is a giant step forward.”

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