A new trail that will increase pedestrian access in a popular park and create safe walks to school is currently under construction in Jackson! After two months of preparing the site and removing an old trail, crews are now hard at work pouring concrete for the new Elmdale Trail in Ella Sharp Park.
The new trail along Elmdale Drive replaces a 30 year old pedestrian trail that had deteriorating surfaces, flooding issues, and was close to vehicle traffic. When the 1 mile long trail opens later this summer, walkers, runners and bikers can enjoy a new path that’s wider, further set back from the street, and has a dedicated bridge over a drain.
The improved Elmdale Trail also goes beyond the original length of the old trail, creating a new stretch along S. Jackson Street that will better connect Ella Sharp Park to Jackson’s south side neighborhood. Because this trail is often used by students to get to Middle School at Parkside and the Sharp Park Academy, the City is using a Safe Routes to School grant from the State of Michigan to fund most of the project.
The City of Jackson has been planning this improvement for several years with Jackson Public Schools (JPS). The school district expects this trail to increase the amount of students walking and biking to school. “We are very pleased to see the work of the Safe Routes to School Plan come to fruition,” said Kriss Giannetti, JPS Director of Communications. “This trail will provide safe routes to school for our children for years to come.”
Kelli Hoover, the City’s Parks and Recreation Director, says she’s looking forward to seeing Jackson’s trail system expand. “Since the COVID-19 pandemic started, we’ve seen more residents using our parks and trails for safe outdoor exercise. The new Elmdale Trail will offer our residents more exercise options,” Hoover said. “With the new trail being double the width of the old trail, and further set back from the street, pedestrians will have more room to share the trail and won’t have to worry about interacting with vehicle traffic.”
Elmdale Drive through Ella Sharp Park will be closed during the duration of the project, which is expected to wrap-up later this summer.