U.S. 10 committee aims for 'historic' designation

REED CITY — There is no doubt U.S. 10 was, is, and will continue to be a major east-west roadway across the middle of Michigan’s mitt.

The importance of this highway can’t be ignored or avoided.

Quite to the contrary, a dedicated group of U.S. 10 corridor residents have been meeting on a semi-regular basis to investigate ways of further promoting and developing the highway as a historic entity in its own right.

Members of the U.S. 10 Corridor Committee met last week in Reed City to continue a discussion of finding ways to both promote the historic highway and develop opportunities for communities along the way.

Stretching from Bay City to Ludington, U.S. 10 connects the Huron side of the state with the Lake Michigan shoreline, and joins communities from Midland, through Clare, Evart, Reed City, Baldwin, Scottville, and Ludington along one continuous asphalt ribbon.

The Corridor Committee group have been meeting to discuss the promotion of common goals and cooperative programs highlighting the historic communities and attractions along the highway with hopes for creating a shared calendar of events and developing beautification projects along the way.

At the session held last Thursday were representatives of the Clare, Evart, Reed City, and Baldwin communities, as well as program planner Don Hamilton.

Under discussion were topics ranging from the development of common maps and collaborative signage, to the filing of applications for a historic designation for the highway and the writing of grants for program funding.

Baldwin representative Darci Maldanado reported to the group that she had been in contact with the Michigan Department of Transportation regarding the designation of U.S. 10 as an official “Historic Route.”

“I have the first application in hand,” she reported. “There are still a lot of details to be worked out, but I expect to move ahead with this process.”

Maldanado said she would continue on with this portion of the process, but the group would need to find a municipal or other body that would act as the fiduciary for any programs that may develop along the way — with grant funding.

With regard to potential grant funding, Don Hamilton discussed with the group the potential and possibilities for both state and federal funding for programs such as the U.S. 10 Corridor Committee’s planned development.

“I would suggest we might expect half of whatever we were to file for,” he said. “Still, there are no guarantees. Money is tight at every level, and budgets have not even been set for the coming year.

“Nevertheless, cooperative program such as this are popular with government entities.

“There may be USDA grants available as well as others.

“A lot of this program, or even most of this program depends on outside funding. It’s pretty obvious that local communities can not fund a project such as this on their own.”

The group determined to continue investigative work into project ideas, while at the same time beginning the process of not only applying for grant funding but also for improving communications between communities all along the U.S. 10 corridor.