By Teddy Rydquist
Leader Staff Writer
In a story The Leader first reported on in November 2019, when the township applied for the grant, $50,000 from the Ralph C. Wilson Legacy Funds arrived, via check, at the Oxford Township Offices on June 15.
C.J. Carnacchio, the township’s Communications and Grants Manager, was responsible for the securing of these funds. Carnacchio researched, wrote, and submitted the proposal for consideration to the foundation, which focuses their community involvement efforts on Metro Detroit and Western New York.
This money will be used to survey and engineer a 5,500-foot safety path, like the one that exists from the Polly Ann Trail to the base of the Oxford High School football parking lot, along the west side of Oxford Road and the south side of Ray Road, creating a safe route for OHS students and other residents when traveling from local businesses, such as Meijer, to the high school.
“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,” Oxford Township Supervisor Bill Dunn said in a statement, released through Carnacchio. “This is a huge win for Oxford, its residents and pedestrian safety. We are so very proud.”
Township Treasurer Joe Ferrari added, “This $50,000 grant gets us one step closer to making this path a reality. 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.”
Ferrari, in addition to his duties as the treasurer, heads the committee overseeing this safety path project. Carnacchio, who spent two decades as a staff writer and editor at The Leader, joined the township staff last November and immediately hit the ground running on securing this funding.
This $50,000 is expected to cover the entire cost of the engineering design work for the project. Township Engineer Jim Sharpe has estimated the construction of the completed path will cost about $660,000.
Efforts to secure additional funding are ongoing.
Born in Columbus, Ohio, the late Wilson grew up in Detroit, graduated from the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, and attended the University of Michigan Law School in Ann Arbor. A minority owner of the Detroit Lions until 1959, he founded the Buffalo Bills, then of the American Football League (AFL), later that year and owned the team until his death at the age of 95 in 2014. Less than seven months after his passing, his estate sold the franchise to Terry and Kim Pegula, who also own the National Hockey League’s (NHL) Buffalo Sabres, and still own the team to this day.
As per Wilson’s wishes, the foundation that bears his name has a grantmaking capacity of $1.2 billion, which expires on January 8, 2035. Headquartered at 3101 E. Grand Boulevard in Detroit, further information about the foundation is available at ralphcwilsonjrfoundation.org.
By Teddy Rydquist