Road Funding Information

by Don Brown on March 8, 2015

Here is information from the Southeastern Michigan Council of Governments on road funding as it relates to the upcoming May 5th ballot question.

The link below provides a list of all road agencies within the SEMCOG region that receive Michigan Transportation Funds. The data includes the current state distribution, the projected distribution if Proposal 15-1 is approved, the miles of roads under their jurisdiction that they must maintain, and the average amount per mile they currently receive and are projected to receive should Proposal 15-1 be adopted on May 5.


Macomb Orchard Trail Earns National Praise

by Don Brown on July 20, 2014

Macomb Orchard Trail

Trail of the Month: July 2014
Michigan’s Macomb Orchard Trail
By Laura Stark, Rails to Trails Conservancy

“It’s been one of the most positive things to happen for the community. We get so many users on it, and people see the positive impact it has. Everything we hear about the expansion of the trail system has been positive.”

Related Links
•Macomb County
Trail Facts

Name: Macomb Orchard Trail
Used railroad corridor: Canadian National Railroad
Trail website: Macomb County
Length: 23.5 miles
Counties: Macomb
Start point/end point: Dequindre Road (Shelby Township) to Division Road at Main Street (Richmond)
Surface type: Asphalt, concrete
Uses: Walking, bicycling, inline skating and cross-country skiing; wheelchair accessible
Difficulty: Easy

Getting there: The nearest major airport is Detroit Metropolitan Airport, about an hour south of the trail.
Access and parking:To reach the trail’s eastern trailhead in Richmond, take I-94 and exit west onto Fred W. Moore Highway/Division Road. Turn right onto State Route M-19/Main Street. Turn left onto Water Street. The trailhead is at the intersection of Water and Parker streets. Reach the trail’s western access point in Shelby Township from a parking lot on the west side of Dequindre Road just south of 24 Mile Road/Parkdale Road. To navigate the area with an interactive GIS map, and to see more photos, user reviews and ratings, plus loads of other trip-planning information, visit RTC’s free trail-finder website,

A dusky red barn sits atop a grassy slope as wispy white clouds stir in the sky above; a placid cow strolls by and a creek runs playfully beneath a small wooden bridge. This scene, seemingly from some sweet dream, is the everyday reality on the Macomb Orchard Trail. About 30 miles north of Detroit, Mich., the rail-trail is pure rural Americana, a paved ribbon winding through rolling farm fields, vivid green tree canopies and friendly Midwestern towns.

“People are discovering their county like they never have before,” says Don Brown, a Macomb County commissioner whose district includes the communities along the trail. “From the trail, you get a different perspective of the county than you would from a car. You see farms and open space and wooded areas. The trail passes through all of that. You really see where you’re living.”

Michigan is one of the top apple-producing states in the nation, and the trail’s name and distinctive features—such as picnic pavilions topped with cheerful barn-like roofs—are nods to the rich agricultural heritage of Macomb County, known for its apples and peaches. Many of the farms here have been family-owned for generations. With more than 2,300 miles of rail-trail and counting, the state is also leading the country in completed rail-trail mileage. On the Macomb Orchard Trail—an unmitigated success since its completion in 2011—one feels not only the pull of its idyllic past, but also the possibilities of a bright future.

At every level of government, the Michigan citizenry is rallying around its trail system with gusto. In 2012, Governor Rick Snyder gave the effort a major kick forward when he unveiled a plan for a connected trail network stretching more than 600 miles from Detroit through the Upper Peninsula to the Wisconsin border. The plan’s ambition astonished even the most enthusiastic trail advocates.

“It’s profound, the backing we get for these trail projects from the governor’s office on down,” says Brad Bates, deputy supervisor for Shelby Township, one of the communities that the Macomb Orchard Trail connects. “It definitely makes it an easier row to hoe when you have such strong support from the county, state and federal government.”

A much smaller project, but perhaps no less significant on a local level, is the rapidly developing 70-mile trail loop around the county. The Macomb Orchard Trail is a key piece. The loop will link Stony Creek Metropark—one of the region’s largest and most popular parks—with the beaches of Lake St. Clair and several other parks in between. “The loop will provide great connectivity,” says Macomb County Executive Mark Hackel. “It brings the county together and provides a tremendous recreational opportunity.”

Already, the Clinton River Trail is just a hop across the street from the Macomb Orchard Trail’s west end, so travelers can continue their journey another 16 miles west and, in turn, link to the nine-mile Paint Creek Trail.

“When we were first trying to get support for the Macomb Orchard Trail, people were questioning it,” says Joe Youngblood, parks and recreation director for Shelby Township. “But it’s been one of the most positive things to happen for the community. We get so many users on it, and people see the positive impact it has. Everything we hear about the expansion of the trail system has been positive.” For a rural county with tight purse strings, the expense of developing a trail like this takes on particular importance. “Shelby Township is a pretty cautious, conservative community,” says Rick Stathakis, supervisor for Shelby Township, which anchors the west side of the trail. “These were some big investments, so we did our homework. We looked at the numbers several times, but saw the many benefits that the trail would have and there was no way we could say no to this.”

Fortunately, the project had a major champion in U.S Rep. Candice Miller (R-Mich.), a lifelong resident of the county and an avid trail supporter.
“Biking and hiking trails, particularly our Macomb Orchard Trail, really enhance communities, providing residents with a valuable outlet for recreation and outdoor activities,” says Miller. “I really believe that the Orchard Trail improves the quality of life for those who can take advantage of it, which is why I worked so hard to secure funding for its construction. Since its completion in 2011, many residents have enjoyed this beautiful trail, and it has become an important asset to the community.”

Of her support, Brown is effusive. “She secured $3.7 million for the trail and it was a shot in the arm for us. With that funding, the county was able to pave the first half of the trail. It helped to accelerate the work, and we were able to surpass all of our expectations.” Now that the trail is such an important character in the county’s story, it’s hard to imagine what it once was. “The railroad bed was trashy and unkempt,” says Youngblood. “There was no reason for anyone to maintain it. Kids would throw litter and their Slurpee cups out there, but, since the trail has been built, those issues are gone now. You won’t see any trash. Users take pride in helping the trail look good.”

Back in 1998, when the Canadian National Railroad first put the railroad corridor up for sale, a group of Macomb County residents jumped on the idea of turning it into a trail. They quickly formed the Friends of the Macomb Orchard Trail and garnered the support of the Macomb County Board of Commissioners, who negotiated with the railroad to reduce its price and successfully made the purchase with financing from the Trust for Public Land. “There were early concerns when the property was for sale that the rail line could sell the right-of-way to individual landowners in pieces,” says Brown, involved with the project since those early days. “We wanted to avoid that and buy it in one piece. It was an incentive for us to act quickly.”

Once the corridor was purchased, a collaborative group of stakeholders from the county, municipalities along the route and the Huron-Clinton Metropolitan Authority came together to form the Macomb County Trail Commission to direct how the trail would be developed and managed. Members of the commission pay an annual fee to cover the year-round maintenance of the trail.
Today, the results of the effort are clearly visible. Restaurants adjacent to the trail offer outdoor patios and bike racks, and new bike shops and other businesses are popping up to service trail users.

“We don’t have the data points yet,” says Stathakis. “But we’re certain of the economic benefit of the trail. For example, there’s a Dairy Queen next to the trail, and there will be 30 to 40 bikes packed in front. No question about it, the trail brings business.”

In addition to its economic impact, the enhancement to residents’ quality of life is one of the key reasons behind Hackel’s support of the trail. “There has to be a balance in the community,” he says. “You can’t just have roads. Parks and recreation are part of a community, and I consider trails linear parks.”
Stathakis couldn’t agree more. “The walkability of a township is related to the general health of a community. We want people going out and walking around, [and we want] more people biking instead of taking a car.” A lifelong resident of Shelby Township, Youngblood remembers walking the old railroad bed with his friends as a teenager. “Now, I see the trail and it brings back memories. It shows how a community can come together to take something not being used and turn it into a beautiful pathway.”

See the Rails Trail to Trails Conservancy story with photos go to:


Wolcott Road Bridge to Be Repaired

by Don Brown on July 3, 2014

MOUNT CLEMENS- The Macomb County Board of Commissioners approved a contract between the Macomb County Department of Roads and the Michigan Department of Transportation for funding to replace the Wolcott Road Bridge.

Ninety-five percent of this project is funded through federal funds and state local bridge funds. The contract amount is about $829,000.

“This bridge has been in need of repair for some time,” said Commissioner Don Brown. “Not only will be bridge rebuilt but will be designed to allow safe crossing for hikers/bikes as well as horses, which are not uncommon in this rural community.”

The project, which addresses infrastructure needs for this bridge over the north branch of the Clinton River, is expected to begin construction on July 15 and end by Nov. 15.

For more news from the Macomb County Board of Commissioners, check or visit us on Facebook or @MacombBoC on Twitter.


Portion of 34 Mile Road to be Paved

by Don Brown on June 20, 2014

MOUNT CLEMENS- The Macomb County Board of Commissioners approved a contract between the Macomb County Department of Roads and the Michigan Department of Roads, along with Bruce Township.

The contract allows for 34 Mile Road between Campground and Fisher roads to be paved. This paving is part of an economic development plan in Bruce Township.

About 80 percent of the cost will be paid for through Surface Transportation Program funding from the state. The remainder of the cost will be split evenly between Macomb County Department of Roads and Bruce Township.

I am pleased to assist Bruce Township with MDOT and County’s Department of Roads to facilitate paving in this increasingly busy stretch of 34 Mile Road,” Commissioner Don Brown, who represents Washington Township, said. “It is another example to inter-local government cooperation to improve the infrastructure in Northern Macomb County.”

The project is expected cost $472,500, with the contract set to begin on July 1, 2014 and end on Dec. 31, 2015.


WASHINGTON TWP., Macomb County Commissioner Don Brown requested inmates from the Macomb County Jail to pick up trash along segments of M-53 and Mound Road in Washington Township on May 29 and 30. 

These efforts were made possible through the cooperation of Macomb County Sheriff Anthony Wickersham and the assistance of Washington Township Supervisor Dennis O’Leary.

“We all coordinate our resources for clean up events such as this” Brown said. “Not only is it nice to see the shoulders of our roads clean, but it’s even better to see the inmates at the jail do the work.”

Brown also has inmates from the jail lined up to help setup and clean up the Art and Orchard Festival, which will take place June 12-15 in Washington Township.

The inmates used for such services are low-risk and are observed by a deputy from the Sheriff’s Department.



Macomb County
Board of Commissioners
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Media contact: Courtney Flynn
April 29, 2014 (586) 469-5713

MOUNT CLEMENS, Mich. — Veterans are invited to attend outreach programs on May 6 and 7 to learn how to utilize the benefits available to them.

At both events representatives from the Macomb County Veterans Department will be available to connect veterans with services they may not be utilizing. Such services include workforce development, housing matters and homelessness services.

Veterans will also be able to utilize the photo ID program offered through Clerk/Register of Deeds Carmella Sabaugh’s Office. For this program, appointments are required, as is photo ID and discharge papers.

Macomb County Commissioner Don Brown will also be on hand to answer questions related to county government.

“These outreach efforts are important as they bring county services to northern Macomb County residents in a convenient location,” Brown said. “Our veterans, both active and retired, have earned benefits and these events are designed to connect them to it.”

The May 6 outreach program will be held at the James Coleman VFW Post 6802 at 34339 32 Mile Road, Richmond from 4 to 7 p.m.

The May 7 program will be held at the Striber/McVicar VFW Post 2052 at 70455 McVicar Road, Bruce Township from 4 to 7 p.m.

To make an appointment for the photo ID program please call (586) 469-7935.

Also, on May 20 another outreach program will be held at Old Settlers VFW Post 4659, 8311 Wilson Dr., Shelby Township.

For more news from the Macomb County Board of Commissioners, check
or visit us on Facebook or @MacombBoC on Twitter.


Two Northern Macomb Roads to be Paved, Widened

by Don Brown on March 18, 2014


Macomb County
Board of Commissioners

Two Northern Macomb Roads to be Paved, Widened

MOUNT CLEMENS, Mich. — Two major roads that serve as traffic arteries through northern Macomb County will be improved upon this spring.

Expected to begin in early May, Mound Road, between 28 and 29 Mile roads, and Van Dyke, between 25 and 26 Mile roads, will be updated, according to contracts approved by the Macomb County Board of Commissioners on March 18.

The Washington Township portion of Mound Road to be worked on is currently a dirt road, but full paving for this portion the road is expected to be complete by the end of summer.

Van Dyke will be widened to a five lane road; work will begin in May and is expected to be complete by November. The need for widening the road is because of traffic congestion.

The contracts for the projects are between the Macomb County Department of Roads and the Michigan Department of Transportation. Both contracts are in excess of $100,000 though and therefore required Board approval.

Also, both contracts are being funded 80 percent by the federal funds. The Mound Road project was contracted for $1,344,000. Of that, the Macomb County Department of Roads is contributing $296,755; Washington Township is matching that.

For the Van Dyke project, the two communities that will be affected by the construction are also the matching funds of the Macomb County Department of Roads.

The contract was approved for $4,120,450.00; Shelby Township is contributing $447,900, Macomb Township is contributing $716,500 and the Macomb County

Department of Roads is contributing $1,154,400.

County Commissioner Don Brown, who represents both Washington and a portion of Shelby Township serves on the Macomb County Infrastructure Committee where these contacts were approved said, “The widening of Van Dyke to 5 lanes will complete work done along the Van Dyke corridor, making travel safer and easier for this increasingly congested area. Paving the mile stretch of gavel road north of 28 Mile Road is needed given the high volume of traffic that travel on this critical north south road. Because of the high volume of traffic and being a gravel road the Road is often impassable. These communities have partnered with the county and provide 50% of the local match money needed to complete these projects, without which, these projects would not have done. It is a credit to the local officials in these communities for stepping up with the funding to improve the quality of life in our community.”

### For more news from the Macomb County Board of Commissioners, check



by Don Brown on March 6, 2014


CONSTRUCTION PROJECT: New Haven Road Over Deer Creek, Lenox Township




DESCRIPTION: Bridge remove and replacement with precast concrete arch culvert. Project will include replacement of guardrail, new approaches to bridge, and landscape repair.

CONSTRUCTION PROJECT: Bordman Road Over East Branch of Coon Creek, Armada Township




DESCRIPTION: Bridge remove and replacement with prestressed concrete box beams on concrete substructure. Project will include replacement of guardrail, new approaches to bridge, and landscape repair.

CONSTRUCTION PROJECT: Russ Road over Highbank Creek / Wheeler Drain between 34 Mile Road and School Section Road, Richmond Township

PROJECT START DATE: October 28, 2013





DESCRIPTION: Replacement of existing steel bridge and concrete abutments with a precast concrete box culvert. Crossing will be widened to two 12-foot lanes with paving over top.

CONSTRUCTION PROJECT: 33 Mile Road over Cemetery Creek and Highbank Creek, Richmond Township

PROJECT START DATE: November 11, 2013





DESCRIPTION: Bridge removal and replacement with precast, concrete box culverts, hot mix asphalt approaches, guardrail and pavement markings.


Be sure to follow us @MacombNewsNow on the official Twitter page for Macomb County and spread the news to your fellow tweeters!


BOC Approves Financial Transparency Ordinances

by Don Brown on February 19, 2014

The Macomb County Board of Commissioners, at a Full Board meeting held on 2/6/14, approved a package of legislation which included amendments to the 2014 Appropriations Ordinance, the Quarterly Report Requirements Ordinance as well as the county’s Procurement Ordinance/Contracting Policy.

According to Don Brown, “The Board and Executive Office put in many hours of hard work to reach an agreement that would provide the Board’s goal of balance of powers and transparency in such a way that would be efficient for Executive day-to-day operations.”

Please see the attached Fact Sheet for a summary of the changes to each Ordinance.  Ordinances maybe found on the county’s Code of Ordinances and Resolutions page which is accessible through the BOC website.



 1. Amendments to 2014 Appropriations Ordinance (ORD 2013-8)

  • Ensures the 2014 adopted budget is a comprehensive document; the public now has access via a single document rather than searching multiple places.
  • Ensures the adopted budget includes additional detail of salary/wages/fringe benefits
  • Establishes deeper level of accountability for all capital expenditures or projects
  • Establishes more accountability of private, state and federal grants by requiring any grants that increase or decrease by more than $35,000 be approved by the BOC and any grant requirement changes be reported to the Commission
  • Provides added flexibility to departments with Fund Transfer increase limit to $100,000 or 10 percent, whichever is greater; still maintains institutional accountability requiring all fund transfers and budget amendments to be published monthly via the county website
  • Establishes the BOC as the single point of county lawsuit settlement approval

2. Amendment to Quarterly Report Requirements Ordinance (ORD 2013-3)

  • Removes duplicate requirements outlined in the Appropriations Ordinance
  • All payments made by the County will be made available on the county website in a searchable format

3. Amendment to Procurement Ordinance (ORD 2012-01)

  • Defines terms of emergency provisions
  • Requires all vendors to list potential sub-contractors in bid documents
  • Establishes a food procurement policy giving preference to vendors that obtain locally-sourced foods and maintain sustainable farming practices

4. Amendment to Contracting Policy (R14-017)

  • Defines terms of emergency provisions
  • Establishes “fast-track” approval of time-sensitive contracts by Board Chair, Finance Committee Chair and respective Committee Chairs to prevent increase in costs to county, disruption of services or to establish cost-savings to county
  • Establishes requirement for any vendor providing services for the county without a contract to have Worker’s Compensation Insurance and Liability Insurance



Macomb County 2014 Budget now available Online.

by Don Brown on February 19, 2014

The Finance Department has posted the 2014 Adopted Budget on the county website now that budget differences have been resolved between the Executive’s office and the Board of Commissioners. See the link below:    The excel version of the Check Registers, and the budget amendment monthly reports should be posted on the website some time in March or April.