FLINT (WJRT) - (05/12/15) - Nature trails have become increasingly popular in Mid-Michigan.
Walkers, joggers, bikers and bladers can enjoy the great outdoors while burning off some calories as well.
A new Flint project will connect old railroad lines to other nature trails already in place.
It's a transformation of sorts from industrial to pedestrian use, as old railroad lines are being developed to encourage Flint residents to enjoy what Mother Nature has to offer.
"Well, I used to kid around that I lived on a dead-end street, but not so much anymore, because I can jump on here with my bike and head all the way downtown," said Flint resident Tom Sumner.
"Me and my sister and my friends, we would always walk through here since we were little, so I think it's a good idea that they are actually opening it all the way through," said Autumn Stewart.
Both Stewart and Sumner live near the new pathway, which when finished will connect with the Genesee Valley Trail to the west, giving outdoor enthusiasts the ability to traverse both Flint Township and part of the city of Flint to Kettering University and Chevy Commons.
Friends of the Flint River Trail and avid bike rider Bruce Nieuwenhuis thinks this is a gem in the making.
"There are people from 35 different zip codes that ride with us, so this is already a showcase to show that Flint is a safe place to be."
An MDOT grant of about three quarters of a million dollars, with a little more than $175,000 coming from the city of Flint is funding this nearly 2-mile long path.
There are benefits to this project that are worth more than dollars.
Stewart says safety is big benefit.
"I guess some people don't have to walk and ride their bikes on the main roads and risk getting hit by cars and stuff like that, so they can go through the trail," she said.
So does Sumner.
"If done right, this could be a really cool thing to allow people to have a safe place to bike, to walk, jog," he said.
Completion of the trail is expected by late this summer or early fall.