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LANSING, Mich. -- Michigan’s Gov. Jennifer Granholm has signed legislation to rename a west Michigan trail after retail pioneer and philanthropist Fred Meijer.
The Meijer family offered to donate $1 million to White Pine Trail State Park, a 92-mile hiking and biking trail that runs from Cadillac to the northern Grand Rapids suburb of Comstock Park.
"Fred Meijer's commitment to Michigan should be applauded and I am pleased that we have found a way to embrace his generosity to ensure that our magnificent natural resources can be enjoyed for generations to come," Granholm said in a statement. "The Meijer gift represents a wonderful opportunity for Michigan and we want to be able to accept his gift as well as others that may be offered."
The legislation to rename the park in Meijer's honor was introduced after a state board initially turned down the Meijer donation, saying it went against state policy. Granholm later instructed the Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund Board to accept the gift and add Meijer's name to the park.
The Meijer gift, which is expected to bring an additional $2.2 million from the federal government for further trail improvements, has prompted both Granholm and state Republican leaders to call for a clear, long-term policy to address private gifts to state government projects.
The family-owned and operated Meijer operates more than 170 stores in Michigan, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois and Kentucky.