Oxford Township is pleased to announce that it is one of 73 organizations to be awarded a grant from the Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan.
Through the Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Legacy Funds, the township received a $50,000 Design and Access grant to support the engineering design of a 5,500-foot pedestrian safety path. This path will eventually be constructed along the west side of N. Oxford Rd. (from Oxford High School to Ray Rd.) and the south side of Ray Rd. (from N. Oxford Rd. to M-24).
The $50,000 check arrived on June 15 and it will cover the entire cost of the engineering design work. Efforts to secure funding for path construction are ongoing.
The Design and Access Fund is for projects related to increasing the walkability and bikeability of local communities and/or increasing outdoor recreational activities within the region.
C.J. Carnacchio, communications and grants manager for Oxford Township, researched, wrote and submitted the grant proposal.
“On behalf of the township, I wish to express our sincere gratitude to the Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan and the Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation for awarding us this grant,” said Oxford Township Supervisor William Dunn. “This is a huge win for Oxford, its residents and pedestrian safety. We are so very proud.”
Completing the engineering design for this future safety path will turn a longtime township goal into a shovel-ready project. Being shovel-ready will make the project much more attractive and competitive as the township continues to pursue outside funding sources (grants, donations, etc.) to help cover construction costs.
“This $50,000 grant gets us one step closer to making this path a reality,” said Oxford Township Treasurer Joseph G. Ferrari, chairman of the safety path committee. “It’s not going to happen overnight, but having the engineering design work done this year will show other potential funding sources just how committed the township is to this project and pedestrian safety. Going forward, I have no doubt that Mr. Carnacchio will be able to secure more grants for this path.”
The main goal of the Ray Rd./N. Oxford Rd. path would be to give OHS student-pedestrians a safe route to use when traveling on foot or by bicycle between the school and M-24 businesses. Thanks to the existing sidewalk and safety path that runs along the west side of N. Glaspie St. in the village and N. Oxford Rd., the eventual construction of this new path would connect Oxford Village, the Polly Ann Trail, the high school and M-24, giving residents of all ages and income levels another option for exercise, recreation and transportation.
One of the township’s goals is to eventually have a comprehensive and extensive network of paved pedestrian paths that allow residents to travel safely and easily from their homes to businesses, schools, parks, recreational trails, places of worship and government offices.
To this end, safety paths will be installed on the east and west sides of M-24 from Drahner Rd. to the Oxford Village limits in conjunction with the current M-24 construction project, Construction of these paths is being funded through the Michigan Department of Transportation.
“I know firsthand just how important it is to have a system of pedestrian paths. Almost every day, I ride my bicycle around the community,” said Oxford Township Trustee Jack Curtis, a member of the safety path committee. “Those trips give me a good idea of what pedestrians need and want. It’s a whole different world when you’re not behind the wheel of a motor vehicle. You realize how vulnerable pedestrians truly are and that pedestrian infrastructure is not a luxury, it’s a necessity. It’s absolutely essential these days to have pedestrian paths that are safe, accessible and well-maintained.”
The Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation established the endowed Legacy Funds at the Community Foundation to provide support to issue areas that were important to Mr. Wilson during his lifetime: Caregivers, Design and Access, and Youth Sports across the region, and Grosse Pointe Community Assets, to support projects in Ralph’s hometown. Endowment funds are designed to grow over time and provide funding in perpetuity for charitable causes according to the Wilson Foundation’s wishes. Since 2016, over $5.5 million in 234 grants have been awarded to nonprofits in southeast Michigan.
The endowment funds at the Community Foundation are complementary to the Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation’s efforts to create immediate impact within the communities of Southeast Michigan and Western New York. Grants are made annually, and information for next year’s grants will be available this fall.
About the Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan
The Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan is a full-service philanthropic organization leading the way to positive change in our region. As a permanent community endowment built by gifts from thousands of individuals and organizations, the Foundation supports a wide variety of activities benefiting education, arts and culture, health, human services, community development, and civic affairs. Since its inception, the Foundation has distributed more than $1.1 billion through more than 74,000 grants to nonprofit organizations throughout Wayne, Oakland, Macomb, Monroe, Washtenaw, St. Clair, and Livingston counties. For more information, visit www.cfsem.org.
About the Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation
The Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation is a grantmaking organization dedicated primarily to sustained investment in the quality of life of the people of Southeast Michigan and Western New York. The two areas reflect Ralph C. Wilson, Jr.’s devotion to his hometown of Detroit and greater Buffalo, home of his Buffalo Bills franchise. Prior to his passing in 2014, Mr. Wilson requested that a significant share of his estate be used to continue a life-long generosity of spirit by funding the foundation that bears his name. The foundation has a grantmaking capacity of $1.2 billion over a 20-year period, which expires January 8, 2035. This structure is consistent with Mr. Wilson’s desire for the foundation’s impact to be immediate, substantial, measurable, and overseen by those who knew him best. For more information, visit www.rcwjrf.org .