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Updated Wednesday, November 19, 2014 at 3 PM EST

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Liability becomes
roadblock for pathway

by CHRIS GRAY
Observer Staff Writer
      Insurance issues and borrowing land must be sorted out before a pathway leading to Romeo receives improvement.
       Karen Palka, founder of A Beautiful Me (ABMe), along with Ford Headquarters, DTE Energy and village officials are working on a project to beautify a path that leads from the Macomb Orchard Trail to Romeo.
       The pathway sits behind the DTE Energy facilities on 32 Mile Road. The dirt path leads from the paved Macomb Orchard Trail to East Lafayette Street, located south of 32 Mile Road.
       The project would improve landscaping and pave the path. Palka said the idea is to create a 100 feet long and 10 feet wide path to provide a safe transition for people on the trail wishing to visit Romeo.
       Palka said the project has been postponed for weather-related reasons as well as working on liability.
       "We're working on who is going to be responsible for the maintenance," she said. "We're working out the details amongst all the parties."
       The Macomb Orchard Trail Commission provides maintenance for the trail itself, but the pathway is located on DTE Energy property. Palka said all the parties involved have been understanding, but liability remains the biggest issue.
       Village Clerk Marian McLaughlin said she spoke with insurance representatives regarding the property and determined a permanent easement could be established.
       "If there are any accidents we would be responsible to defend DTE and ourselves if named in any suit," she said.
       Village Trustee Bob Hart is working on behalf of the Village Council to follow up on the liability and easement.
       Ford Headquarters offers grants and volunteers for community projects through its Accelerated Action Days program. In this case, it has offered a $4,000 grant for the project.
       The delay will not put the grant in jeopardy. Palka said Ford is allowing ABMe to hold onto the grant past the Sept. 11 deadline, but ABMe cannot apply for additional Ford grants until it is finished.
       "They're letting us push back the date for the spring," she said. "It's very gracious of them."
       ABMe is a non-profit organization that holds workshops to boost self-esteem in women. The organization has participated in community improvement projects as well as traveling to locations like Guatemala to provide assistance.
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Retrieved 11/25/2014 at 9:50:42 PM.
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