Homeowners dislike plan for path around Maplewood Lake

Maplewood Lake
Maplewood Lake in Georgetown Township. (March 28, 2016)

GEORGETOWN TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WOOD) — There is a battle brewing in the community of Jenison over plans for a new path to Maplewood Park.

The proposed path would run north from Baldwin Street and then circle Maplewood Lake. Georgetown Township owns some of the property it will cut across and is working on acquiring more, but it’s not a done deal.

Maplewood Park
Maplewood Park.

Some neighbors whose backyards will be affected don’t want to lose their privacy and say the path should be built somewhere else.

“I’m sick about it and I told my husband I don’t want to live here,” said Kathi Hughes, who lives along Maplewood Lake. “I don’t want to live here if a trail go through my yard.”

She said she purchased her home because of the backyard view of the lake and wildlife that lives along it.

“We have heron here,” Hughes said, looking out at her backyard.

Maplewood Lake, Maplewood Park, Maplewood Path
The plan to build a path around Maplewood Lake in Georgetown Township. (March 28, 2016)

She learned from a neighbor that Georgetown Township is planning to put a bike path next her property line.

“There is no need for it. There is a beautiful park and there is a beautiful sidewalk,” she said.

The township owns about 50 feet of land up from the water’s edge. If the plan is approved, it will affect a handful of private properties.

“We feel betrayed by Georgetown,” Hughes added. “Who wants people looking in their windows?”

Citizens who don’t live along the lake like the idea.

“I love to walk and it would be nice to go around the lake,” said Mary Knappen, who walks five days a week along the existing path.

“The path is not that long,” she continued. “I know there are a lot of other walkers I meet along the way. I think they would like that, too.”

But she said she can sympathize with homeowners along the proposed path:

“I can identify with them. I may be that way too if I were them,” she said.

The total cost for the path is expected to run anywhere from $200,000 to $400,000. The township board still has to approve a final plan. If they do, construction could start in the fall at the earliest.

Township Manager Daniel Carlton declined an on-camera interview Monday, but off camera acknowledged that citizens don’t want paths in eyesight of their properties. However, he added there is no location that would make everyone happy.

Neighbors say they plan to share their concerns at the Monday township board meeting, which starts at 7:30p.m.

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