Ely Township residents should support trail millage

Longtime readers of The Mining Journal’s Opinion page know that the newspaper has been exceedingly cautious in its endorsements of millage increases over the years. Chief among our editorial board’s challenges is looking out for the average taxpayer, the resident who, it seems, gets stuck with the bill on just about everything.

That said, one local project has enjoyed our support over time: The Iron Ore Heritage Trail. Today, Ely Township residents are being asked to vote on a .2 millage request for six years from the Iron Ore Heritage Recreation Authority, which has secured a $281,000 grant to build 5 miles of trail from Ishpeming to County Road 478 in Ely Township. Ely Township must approve the .2 mill request in order to be a member of the Authority for it to be able to use this grant money.

Improvements along the trail include surfacing with crushed granite, board walking through wetland areas and signage. A parallel ORV trail makes the trail multi-use. The trail system will run from Republic to Chocolay Township and will be within 1 mile of 75 percent of the population of Marquette County.

Today is the third time the levy request has appeared on the Ely Township ballot. The first time it was defeated was in 2008 when it lost by two votes.The millage was defeated again in the November 2012 election by a vote of 438 yes to 462 no.

The cost per homeowner would be $5 to $20, a bargain, we believe, given the many benefits the trail extension will provide. We urge voters in Ely Township to support the Heritage Trail millage today.