Potential service drive is one step closer

ALPENA – The planning process for having a service road constructed from Bagley Street to Crittenden Court is steadily moving forward.

At a meeting Friday, Alpena Township Supervisor Marie Twite, Alpena Area Chamber of Commerce Director of Economic Development Jim Klarich, Jim Townsend and Dick Crittenden outlined a path that could lead to a much needed road built behind Walmart and Home Depot. The road also would be beneficial as other businesses spring up along the M-32 corridor, as well as help the flow of traffic in the area.

Twite said she met with Gaylord City Manager Joe Duff to get advice and council on what the township needed to do to make the road a reality. Gaylord has been through the process when it constructed Mankowski Road to help navigate traffic to and from the stores and restaurants there. Twite said Duff provided the entire plan Gaylord used to not only get approval from the Michigan Department of Transportation, but also information that should be used in a road and safety grant application to MDOT.

“We can kind of pattern what he gave me and use some of the verbiage,” Twite said. “He told me if we do what they did we shouldn’t have any issues on getting a grant.”

In the application there are several requirements or measures that need to be addressed before the application is submitted to MDOT. Twite said having a map of the area already is done and Klarich said Meijer just did a new traffic study in the last three weeks and that information should be able to be used.

There still needs to be current photos of the land and a certified appraisal done to the estimated $2.1 million worth of property land owners such as Townsend and Crittenden have pledged to the township to make the road.

Another step in the process is to get letters of support from businesses in the area of the proposed road, as well as local government bodies and business partners such as the chamber of commerce.

Twite said there also needs to be an environmental study and more surveying work that needs to be done, as well as working with the Alpena County Road Commission for final approval. She said interest in M-32 for development is high right now and when more businesses open, traffic will increase as well.

She said that is a concern for many in the community and believes most will support the plan for another option in getting to and from the stores. Twite said it is also a good idea to have a plan in place that would allow for the road to be extended and be included with the grant request. She said having a solid plan for more development and traffic is critical to safety and potential funding sources.

“Maybe we can map it to Walter Road or further,” Twite said. “We want to be sure we get this right so we don’t run into bigger problems than what we have now. We have to be prepared so we’re not forced to scramble after the new businesses are built to to handle the traffic demands. We need to be proactive now so we can avoid a headache later.”

Steve Schulwitz can be reached via email at sschulwitz@thealpenanews.com or by phone at 358-5689. Follow Steve on Twitter ss_alpenanews. Read his blog, Upon Further Review … at www.thealpenanews.com.