June 2024 / Vol. 03

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June 21

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June 24

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The Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) and prime contractor Team Elmer's finished the first segment of the US 31/Grandview Parkway/Front Street Project on Thursday evening, June 20th, a full week ahead of schedule. The roadway is fully open to traffic.

Segment 2 Begins July 8th

Now that Segment 1 of the project (Garfield Avenue to Front Street) is complete, crews will pause the project until after the National Cherry Festival. Work on Segment 2 (the US-31/Grandview Parkway/Front Street intersection west to Division Street) is scheduled to begin on July 8.

Vehicular & Pedestrian Detours

With Segment 1 complete, the detour for westbound US-31 traffic will be removed. When work on Segment 2 begins on July 8, the eastbound lanes of US-31/Grandview Parkway will be closed as they are rebuilt, and one lane of US-31 traffic will be maintained in each direction on the westbound lanes.

Once the eastbound lanes are completed, traffic will be moved to those lanes, again with one lane open in each direction while the westbound lanes are rebuilt. The switch is tentatively expected to happen shortly after Labor Day.

While crews are working on the Grandview Parkway/Front Street intersection portion of Segment 2, pedestrians will be detoured across Front Street and Grandview Parkway at the Barlow Street signalized crossing and the Murchie Bridge underpass. While crews are working on the Division Street/Grandview Parkway intersection, pedestrians will be detoured to the High-Intensity Activated CrossWalk (HAWK) signal crossing at the Elmwood Street/Grandview Parkway intersection and the signalized crossing at the Division Street/East Front Street intersection.

Additional Improvements

In addition to rebuilding the roadway, this project will include replacing concrete curb and gutter, upgrading sidewalk and ramps, improving storm sewer, and repairing the Murchie Bridge over the Boardman River.

In addition, the City planned utility infrastructure improvements to coincide with the project, investing $3.2 million to replace underground water and wastewater utilities.





In 2019, a ballot proposal passed with 75.89% support, allowing the City Commission to use the Brown Bridge Trust Fund Principal exceeding $12,000,000 for City park capital improvements and property acquisition for parklands for five years. This allowance expires on November 4, 2024.

At their June 3, 2024 meeting, the City Commission established an Ad Hoc Committee to discuss placing a new proposal before the electorate. At the June 19, 2024 Ad Hoc Committee meeting, the following priorities for parks and recreational areas were considered during the discussion.

  • Pickleball and Tennis Court resurfacing  
  • ADA improvements with access to parks, accessible amenities for playgrounds and improved beach access per ADA standards
  • Boardwalk repair from the boat ramp at Lot D to Park Street, north side of the river 
  • Trailhead development for the newly acquired land at Brown Bridge Quiet Area

Next Steps

At their July 1, 2024 meeting, the City Commission will consider approving ballot language for the November 5, 2024 ballot. If approved, a survey will be issued to gather community input on priorities for the Ad Hoc Committee. Ultimately, a project list will be adopted by the City Commission in advance of a public vote.

Past Improvements

Brown Bridge Trust Parks Improvement Fund has been used for several park improvements including extensive improvements at Hickory Hills, and improvements to neighborhood parks such as F&M Park, Boon Street Park, Indian Woods Park, and Arbutus Court Park. The funds are also being used toward the new Park Signage project that is currently being implemented.


Starting this week, the Parking Structure Restoration Project will include traffic coating and sealing on level 3 of the Hardy Parking Garage. The west side of level 3 will be closed to traffic and inaccessible, with a new traffic pattern establishing two-way traffic on the north end of level 3 to level 4. During this closure, no parking will be allowed on level 3. The west side of level 3 will be completed before the Cherry Festival.

On Monday, July 8th, the east side will close, and a similar two-way traffic pattern will be implemented on the west side from the north end of level 3 to level 4.

Traverse City Parking Services kicked off a $1,000,000 restoration project on the Hardy and Old Town Parking Structures in May 2024. The project is designed to address the needs of aging infrastructure, aiming to prolong the usability and effectiveness of each location. Activities include concrete crack repairs, expansion joint repairs, traffic coating, sealants, windowsill repairs, pedestrian tower improvements, painting, and more. The work is anticipated to be completed by November 2024.

Activities will be conducted predominantly during business hours, Monday through Friday. Weekends and late hours are a possibility. Both structures will remain open during the repairs to provide parking during the busy summer season. However, due to the extent of the work items, all users of the facilities should expect periodic disruptions and closed off areas.


A ribbon-cutting ceremony for a new trailhead to access the Hickory Forest Natural Area is scheduled for Friday, June 28 at 2 pm at 4976 Barney Road. This 76-acre property, located between Bay Meadows Golf Course and Hickory Hills, was lovingly restored by conservationist Clarence Kroupa and his family. After Kroupa's passing in 2019, the family, with the Grand Traverse Regional Land Conservancy and the Rec Authority, protected the site for public use. The Rec Authority purchased the property in summer 2023 with major funding from the Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund.

A new parking area completes the public opening, following hiking trail installations last fall. Permanent wayfinding signage is expected later this summer.

Hickory Forest Natural Area is one of the few high-quality northern forests near Traverse City and Garfield Township. The Rec Authority aims to protect its natural features while allowing visitors to enjoy the trails and connections to Hickory Meadows and Hickory Hills, creating over 330 acres of contiguous public land.

About the Rec Authority

Formed in 2003, the City of Traverse City and Charter Township of Garfield Recreational Authority (Rec Authority) manages public parks. In 2020, voters approved a 20-year millage to support park operations and the purchase of Hickory Forest. 



The City is now a Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) entitlement community. To secure annual funding, the City needs input for the Five-Year Consolidated Plan. The Plan will identify housing and community development priorities and helps assess at-risk populations and low-to-moderate income households. Funds can be used for Housing (e.g. Rehabilitation, etc.), Public Infrastructure/Facilities Improvements, and Public Services.




Recent legislation mandates that the Federal Trade Commission issue regulations requiring certain products to have “Do Not Flush” labeling, among other purposes.

Friendly reminder: Do not flush "flushable" wipes! They don't break down in the sewer system, causing clogs and sewage backups. In municipal systems, wipes form "fatbergs" with grease and debris, damaging infrastructure and leading to costly repairs.




On June 18, 2024, the City will host a public workshop on housing policy at the City Opera House that features presentations and discussions aimed at addressing the critical issues surrounding housing in our community.

Featured speakers from Flywheel Community Development Services and the Michigan Association of Planning presented data-driven options to support effective housing strategies that cater to both local and regional needs. The program dove into the complexities of housing policy, highlighting the necessity for thoughtful and customized approaches rather than generic, one-size-fits-all solutions.

When considering support for affordable housing and exploring how the City can assist through tax incentives, zoning, or subsidies, here are a few key takeaways:

  • Median Rent in Traverse City of $2,204 / month (2 bedroom unit)
  • Median Home Price in Traverse City of $3,354 / month
  • Median Home Sale Price in April 2024 of $438,318
  • Elementary School Teacher Average Income of $66,130 = Max Housing Budget of $1,653/month
  • Emergency Medical Technicians Average Income of $35,720 = Max Housing Budget of $893



At their June 17, 2024 meeting, the City Commission approved a significant project to enhance the Traverse City Regional Wastewater Treatment Plant (TCRWWTP). The project aims to address aging infrastructure, increase reliability, improve plant hydraulics, and resolve deficiencies in the UV disinfection system.

A study completed in 2021 identified necessary improvements for preliminary screening, grit separation, primary clarifiers, and the UV disinfection system:

  • Preliminary Screening (1994): Lacks redundancy and sufficient hydraulic capacity.
  • Grit Separation (1950s, 1970s): Performs inadequately, failing to balance flow during peak influent rates.
  • Primary Clarifiers (1930s, 1950s): Significant corrosion and frequent costly repairs required.
  • Primary Effluent Screw Pumps (1970s): Operating beyond their expected useful life.
  • UV Disinfection System (1998): Reaching end of life and under an Administrative Consent Order (ACO) from EGLE. The new system must be elevated to prevent damage during high water events.

In 2023, the City Commission approved the preliminary design stage contract for the Progressive Design-Build of the WWTP Preliminary Treatment and UV Disinfection Improvements. This large-scale project will upgrade the front half of the treatment processes and the final UV disinfection stage.

Initially estimated at $23.5 million to $29 million, recent cost estimates for the project have increased to $26.1 million to $35.8 million. A funding request for a low-interest loan has been made to the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy’s (EGLE) Clean Water State Revolving Fund (CWSRF) for 2025. The last comparable project in 2002, which introduced bioreactor membrane treatment trains, cost over $31 million, equivalent to $61 million in present-day dollars. Currently in the preliminary design stage and nearing the 30% design milestone, multiple alternatives have been evaluated, with the final decision to be made by the City Commission. Completion is expected by summer/fall 2027.

In alignment with the City’s focus on improving water systems, five-year project plans for drinking water and clean water (wastewater) have been developed, prioritizing project investments of approximately $48 million. This initiative marks a significant step towards ensuring the long-term sustainability and efficiency of Traverse City’s water infrastructure.



At the June 17 City Commission Meeting, Human Rights Commission Chair Jen Loup presented the Sara Hardy Humanitarian Award to Jane Lippert. Ms. Lippert currently serves as the Community Outreach Coordinator at Central United Methodist Church. Ms. Lippert has been involved in humanitarian activities including Food Rescue, Northwest Michigan Food Coalition, Basic Needs Coalition and Goodwill Outreach.

This award is named in honor of Sara Hardy, who played a pivotal role in the establishment of the Human Rights Commission over three decades ago, this annual accolade celebrates individuals who embody the Commission's core principles of fostering mutual understanding, respect, and inclusivity within our community.


The shores of West Grand Traverse Bay looked very different in 1941. Seen here is an aerial view of the Hannah and Lay Coal Dock closest. The breakwater for the Marina has not been in very long due to no boat slips/berths.

Image provided by the Traverse Area District Library and content from the Traverse Area Historical Society.

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