Organizations planning historic bike path in Niles
NILES, Mich. – The Berrien County Health Department and the Niles History Center need the community’s help on a proposed historical bike route in and around the city.
They’re asking people who live in Niles to fill out a survey and give feedback on the proposal. Organizers believe the route will provide exercise and learning opportunities.
“We hope that the historical bike route … really would just add to the richness of that city and the physical exercise opportunities that are there and really just provide another fund, interesting, learning experience and physical exercise experience for families that live there,” said Berrien County Health Department Communications Manager Gillian Conrad.
In total, the self-guided historical bike tour is 13 miles long.
“Folks would be able to take their bikes out as a family, as an individual and go along the route and be able to stop as they wish,” said Conrad.
The proposed route stops at 13 sites with historical significance like the Ferry Street neighborhood which is home to the first African American Mason Lodge in Michigan. Other stops include historic churches like St. Mary’s and Riverfront Park where many industry companies set up shop hundreds of years ago.
“Each of those sites does have historical significance for the city at some point in the history of the city which is very rich and really long,” said Conrad. “Niles was actually the first city in the county of Berrien, so it is a city that has a really rich history to it, a lot of really interesting people have lived there or come through the area.”
The Berrien County Health Department, Be Healthy Berrien, and the Niles History Center began working on the path earlier this year after the health department received a $90,000 planning grant from the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services.
However, the proposed route could change since the project is still in its planning stages. Organizers say the community feedback survey could add or takeaway stops and would help them solidify the path.
Organizers don’t know exactly when the path would be ready, but they hope it is sometime within the next few years.
Karrieanne Casvezza lives in Niles with her children. She likes the proposed route and believes it will teach people about the city’s history and attract people from other towns to Niles.
“I would love my kids to know more of the history of it,” said Casvezza. “I’ve always been bid on history. My dad was in Vietnam and just the more of the history and everything about it, it excites me. I would just like it to [be] known more.”
To take the survey, click here.