Foundation donates $2M to Michigan greenway trail project

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GRAND HAVEN, Mich. (AP/FOX 17) — A West Michigan foundation has donated $2 million to support the Grand River Greenway Trail project in western Michigan.

The Bill and Bea Idema Foundation’s donation to the Ottawa County Parks Foundation brings the total money raised for the project to $5.5 million. The foundation wants to raise $7.2 million.

“Through this gift, the Greenway Campaign has turned a corner,” said Greenway Campaign Co-Chair Peter Secchia.

The project would connect Grand Haven in Ottawa County to Millennium Park in Kent County. The foundation plans to purchase 700 acres of additional land and build 27 miles of new trail over the next five years.

County officials said they want to create a distinctive trail experience through interpretive displays and art installations.

“Everyone feels it is important that we use the Greenway to tell the story of the Grand River from pre-European settlement through the logging era and to the current time,” said Myron Aldrink, a member of the Greenway Campaign committee.

The entire project will likely cost $21 million, but the foundation anticipates using the donations as leverage for public funding.

The greenway’s central feature will be named the Idema Explorers Trail in the couple’s honor.

“Bea’s spirit — her love of nature, of sharing nature with others and educating young people — match the spirit and experience we hope to create with the Idema Explorers Trail,” Greenway Campaign co-chairperson Monica Verplank said.

(FOX 17 Note: The AP story originally said Bill and Bea Idema made the donation, not the foundation. We’ve corrected the error.)

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