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River walk on hold in Buchanan

BUCHANAN, Mich.  - A river walk project in Berrien County is on hold this summer.

Friends of McCoy Creek, a group in Buchanan, won a DNR grant in December to connect two trails along McCoy creek and create a city-wide path. No funding has been passed out and work has not begun.

“It’s right across the street,” said 13-year-old Klay Weaver, pointing out the entrance to one existing path along McCoy Creek.

“I ride my bike every day so just about every day (I use the path),” Weaver said. He can ride his bike downtown but not to the ball fields on the West end of town.

The proposed river walk would connect the Eastern path to the Western path along McCoy Creek using an old railroad track.

“We’re just waiting,” said Dick Proud with Friends of McCoy Creek.

Proud has been waiting for 6 months to finish work on the project. The group constructed the current trails along McCoy Creek in 2005. In 2011 they applied for the DNR grant. In December they found out they had been awarded more than $280,000 to complete the project.

 Since finding out the group hasn’t received a dime.

“We’re losing all this beautiful building time, we could have had the trail done this summer,” said Proud.

Proud said the grant still needs some legislative approval before the funding is given out. He said when it does happen it’ll be well worth the wait.

“We want a place where people can come from outside (and) spend a little money in Buchanan.”

More than 10 years ago Proud imagined a river walk that would rival river walks in South Bend, Mishawaka and Niles.

 “I could ride farther on it and do more things with my friends,” said Weaver.

Friends of McCoy Creek hope to receive funding this summer and begin work in the fall.

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