By Jim Hayden
Saugatuck residents might get to decide the fate of an 0.4-mile bike path through the city.
City Councilman Barry Johnson Monday proposed putting the issue on the November ballot for voters to accept or reject the project.
“It will give a chance for the voters to speak,” he said at that night’s council meeting. “Let the people of Saugatuck help decide how the city goes forward.”
The 501c3 nonprofit Friends of the Blue Star Trail have been working for eight years to build a 20-mile multi-use trail from South Haven to Saugatuck to connect to Holland. Saugatuck Township and Douglas have built portions of the paved trail, but Saugatuck City has held back support over safety concerns and long-term maintenance costs.
The Friends have proposed two options to get bicycles safely across the Blue Star Highway Kalamazoo River bridge from Douglas to Lake Street in Saugatuck. Both options require traffic signals.
The group has started an online petition to get support for the Saugatuck portion of the trail.
The city has been grappling with the bike trail issue for more than three years.
Johnson did not have specific wording Monday for a ballot issue, but said he would have a draft version for consideration at the council’s July 18 workshop for discussion.
In other business, council agreed to a land transfer with Dune Ridge SA LC, swapping a small strip of land on Park Street along the Kalamazoo River with the developer.
The trade allows Dune Ridge to develop its parcel and the city to use its addition to open a public landing space for kayaks and canoes.
Dune Ridge will also pay the city $4,000 to buy a speed limit sign with a radar gun for traffic control at a future crosswalk at Vine and Park streets. Dune Ridge will also pay $1,000 for legal fees.