Fenton — The State Bank donated $500,000 to help develop a non-motorized pathway along Silver Lake Road.

 On Tuesday, June 8, The State Bank presented a check to the LAFF (Linden, Argentine Township, Fenton, Fenton Township) Pathway group. With the sponsorship, this portion of the pathway will be named The State Bank Trail.

 “We are so excited to say that we are here to talk about The State Bank Trail,” said Ron Justice, president and CEO of Fentura Financial and The State Bank, on Tuesday to a small crowd of community leaders and government officials in front of the Fenton business.

 “When our Board of Directors heard about this opportunity to support such a valued community connection, we had to be involved,” he said. “The State Bank Trail will be a permanent reminder of our commitment to put the good back in banking by being actively engaged in developing, strengthening, and energizing the communities that we live in. Our goal is to build a great place to live, work, raise families, and where small businesses thrive.”

 LAFF Pathway Inc., and Southern Lakes Parks and Recreation have worked together to develop the second phase of the pathway, which will go from the Linden city limits at Triangle Park, along Silver Lake Road and Silver Lake, and it will connect to the Fenton sidewalks in the city.

 After many years of negotiations and coordination with eight governmental agencies, a non-motorized pathway will connect communities. Detailed plans run from Argentine Township, through Fenton Township and Linden to Fenton, connecting to city sidewalks and multiple parks, lakes, river-access, and local businesses in all four communities.

 Phase 1, connecting Argentine Township to Linden, is complete and phase 2, from Fenton to Linden along Silver Lake Road, is a pivotal link in the trail system that has a Tier 1 priority-designation from the county.

 As one of the premier businesses in our communities, it makes sense that The State Bank wants to lead in this area, Justice said.

 “Opening up the efforts to put The State Bank Trail on the ground with this level of support and commitment is incredible.” said Ed Koledo, LAFF Pathway Inc. chairman and SLPR executive director. “When we put together the plan to provide matching funds for the $1.8 million in federal and state grants received by the city of Fenton and SLPR for this project, we looked at The State Bank first because of their history in our community and the level of support they’ve shown throughout the years; they were all in.”

 Justice said from the first moment the LAFF Pathway group approached him, he was “very excited” about the opportunity. He took the matter to his senior staff and board. 

 “We were all in from the very beginning,” he said.

 Justice talked about the value of pathways in the community and how it’s an honor to help develop them. 

 “I want to thank the pathways group and the municipalities and in this particular instance, Argentine, Fenton, Fenton Township and Linden for identifying us as a potential donor, approaching us and believing in us and allowing us to participate. It’s a true honor,” he said.

 “The community collaboration is a major factor for the many grants that have been designated for this project,” said Fenton Mayor Sue Osborn, “All of the municipalities involved in The State Bank Trail are to be congratulated for working together in the best interest of our regional community. I want to thank Mayor Pro-Tem Pat Lockwood, Ed Koledo and the LAFF Pathway Inc. Board for their leadership to make this project a priority. I especially want to thank The State Bank for making this project a reality.”

 Pat Lockwood, Fenton mayor pro-tem who’s also involved with LAFF, spoke about the “opportunities for recreational activities abound around pathways, family adventures, health improvements, the beauty of discovering all that nature offers in Michigan, the coming together of all generations on trails to adventure” and more. 

 She said the pathway is an example of regional recreational activities that unite municipalities with the goal of serving constituents and working with business partners to support their patrons to create a positive impact that will affect future generations. 

 “On behalf of the communities of Argentine Township, Fenton, Fenton Township and Linden, we are honored and deeply appreciate The State Bank for not only their financial commitment to this endeavor, but to their trust placed in connecting communities, creating positive change as citizens work toward common goals,” she said. 

About the LAFF Pathway

LAFF Pathway Inc. held numerous community meetings as well as public hearings with the Genesee County Metropolitan Planning Commission, Genesee County Road Commission, Genesee County Parks and Recreation Commission, and the local southern Genesee County governmental units to facilitate the placement of non-motorized trails. This project is funded through several grants as well as local donations. As the Act 51 Road Agency, the city of Fenton is the sponsoring governmental entity for the project. The city is working in partnership for this project with the Southern Lakes Parks and Recreation Commission (SLPR), Fenton Township and the city of Linden. With SLPR involved, this multijurisdictional non-motorized trail can be constructed through the municipal boundaries of southern Genesee County and has the support and collaboration of the city of Fenton, Fenton Township and city of Linden to spearhead The State Bank Trail. More details can be found at laffpathways.com.

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