Tag Archives: grand traverse bay

Public Meeting on April 21

Meeting Scheduled! The Traverse City City Commission will hear our proposal on Monday, April 21 at 7:00 pm in the Commission Chambers at the Governmental Center. You can find the Board agenda by clicking here.

We are on the agenda during Public Comment as:

Reserved public comment request from Mike Wills, representing Discovery
Center Great Lakes regarding its interest in the Traverse City Light and
Power Coal Dock Property.

No action is expected to be taken; however, there will be an opportunity to make individual publi comment after Mike’s presentation. The presentation will be televised live on Charter Government Channel 191 and available to view on-line  live or later at your convenience.

 

Editorial: Public must have major say in coal docks future

Click here to view the Record Eagle April 13, 2013 Editorial: Public must have major say in coal docks future.

The Discovery Center’s proposal for a Community Pier, Harbor and Marina is on the City Commission’s April 21 Agenda.

No Negative Impact to TCLP Action at April 8 Board Meeting

Going into tonight’s meeting, the perception and fear was that the property would transfer to the City upon the motion being presented. While the motion passed, what we learned and heard at the meeting is that this was really only a motion to approve the transfer, whereupon the City Commission will initiate a public process to fully investigate all the issues, risks, opportunities and options regarding the Discovery Center Proposal and the property itself. But, no deed will be signed and no transfer made until the City, upon conclusion of the process and careful, thoughtful deliberation, makes a final decision as to the future of the coal dock and then passes a resolution to either accept the transfer of property or dispose of the property in some other manner. Once the two bodies agree, only then will transfer to any entity occur. TCLP will continue to own, maintain and manage the property in the meantime.

Given the repeated assurances during the meeting of Mayor Michael Estes, City Manager Jered Ottenwess, Commissioners Barbara Budros and Jim Carruthers that our proposal would be given fair, open and public consideration, along with statements of personal support for our proposal from them and most of the TCLP board members, I am personally at peace that we can trust them all to give this amazing concept, supported by so many in our community, a fair chance to become reality. It will not happen quickly, nor should it. What we have conceived needs to be understood, supported and accepted by the community at large.

There was great angst, fear and mistrust leading up to tonight’s meeting and I accept responsibility for much of that. There was a lot of time spent and much discussion fueled by this proposed action, which resulted in good discourse amongst all the parties and no adverse action. In the end, it may have galvanized our resolve to do good for the community and an appreciation for the roles we all play.

So, my personal Thank You to the TCLP Board Members and City Commissioners who graciously bore up under the pressure and managed to navigate a delicate situation honorably and respectfully. And a Thank You as well to all the individuals and organizations who spent their valuable time to support this great vision. My enthusiasm for the project and confidence that the good vision we have will become reality is undiminished.

We all want what is best for the community, so let the discussion begin!  Next stop, April 21 presentation to City Commission.

Mike Wills, Chair

Rotary’s Thoughts on the Region’s Waterfront

At the February 13th joint study session with Traverse City Light & Power and the City of Traverse City, Marsha Smith of Rotary got up and made a very well-reasoned argument for the process and criteria that the City should use for disposing of surplus property. Her memo in support of her public comments can be found here: Rotary Memo regarding Surplus Property.

She made the following especially compelling argument:

For over 50 years the City of Traverse City has listened to the citizens and worked systematically to open our bay front for public use. This thoughtful and visionary framework has led to a world class waterfront that is accessible to all, regardless of economic status or physical ability. It has been the catalyst for adjoining units of government in Acme and Elmwood Townships to do the same.

Honestly, why would the City choose to reverse that trend now?

USCE DCGL Oblique

Record-Eagle in Favor of Community Harbor

RE LogoThe Record-Eagle came out with a another favorable editorial today. The paper recognizes the long-term benefit that a a public waterfront educational attraction would have for our region. It concludes:

There are dozens of details yet to be worked out before the city signs on to this or any plan for the coal dock. But city leaders owe it to area residents now and decades from now to give it a fair shot. It’s a chance that won’t come again.

You can find the full editorial here

Public Meeting Scheduled for Feb 10

Meeting Scheduled! The joint study session of the Traverse City Light & Power Board and the City Commission will occur on Monday, February 10 at 7:00 pm in the Commission Chambers at the Governmental Center. You can find the Board packet by clicking here.

How is it fair to ask TCLP/ City to dedicate the former Coal Dock to the public?

The City of Traverse City has been the beneficiary of numerous donations of land or money for City properties, including:

    1. Perry Hannah’s many gifts to the City (e.g. Hannah Park, Oakwood Cemetery, etc.),
    2. Floyd Clinch’s gift of the West Bay waterfront creating Clinch Park,
    3. The work of Dr. James Hall and others to acquire the Open Space,
    4. Efforts of the community to acquire the former Smith-Barney property, etc.

Even the transfer of the TCLP Bayside Plat to the City to be included in the Open Space is a way that the City has benefited. In short, most of the City’s prized open waterfront was acquired through the generosity of the community, not through arm’s length purchases. Because of the City’s efforts and vision, other jurisdictions, such as Acme, have been inspired to acquire bay front property for public access.

Great effort has gone into acquiring private, often commercial water front for public use. With the former coal dock, a unique working waterfront is already in the public domain and can now be made accessible in to the public in unique and exciting ways.

Who profits if the Discovery Pier, Harbor and Marina happens?

No individual or private entity profits. The Discovery Center (a 501 (c) 3 non-profit entity) will be the operator of the Community Pier, Harbor and Marina taking all the financial risks and rewards to sustain the Phase 2 Discovery Center facilities and further its mission and those of its member non-profits. Generating an on-going revenue stream from related business ventures (referred to as a “Social Enterprise”) is an established practice for stabilizing funding for non-profit organization rather than relying solely on fundraising and donations. Conceptually, the market-rate rental slips will cover the non-profit aspects of the Community Harbor and generate about $80,000 a year, after all expenses and debt reduction, toward the operation of the Discovery Center. The State of Michigan will be paid about $25,000 a year for the bottomlands lease and the private property owners will be paid rent in roughly an equivalent amount for the use of their riparian shoreline and sharing their parking. However, they will not participate in any profits.

How do we know that the Discovery Center ~ Great Lakes has the capacity to handle and manage the Community Harbor & Pier?

The Discovery Center itself is a Rotary project: in 2006, Mike Dow donated the property (valued at $1.5 M) for the express purpose of creating a water-related nonprofit place of exploration, learning, and awareness, to Rotary Camps & Services, the land-holding arm of Rotary. The Discovery Center has a framework for managing the property, a sitting Board of Directors, a vision, and a plan for the future as a premier educational, recreational, and cultural attraction. The Community Pier and Harbor project has the full support of the Rotary Club of Traverse City. Rotary Charities has made major investments to insure the success of the Discovery Center. Rotary’s participation in the project lends it the credibility, weight, and experience of the Club’s service to the community for more than 95 years. Rotary is the logical owner and steward of the property, having demonstrated its commitment and success in managing property (over 1800 acres) for the greater public good. Some examples: State Theater, Park Place Hotel, Boy and Girl Scout Camps and large tracts of protected natural areas. Rotary has also incubated and contributed to many other local public projects, including the City’s bay front plan.

TCLP is owned by the City, so shouldn’t the City be the sole beneficiary of any value attributable to the former coal dock property?

Elmwood Township hosted this industrial use and has suffered the blight, traffic, and coal dust for more than 40 years without even the benefit of property taxes, while the City gets 5% ($1.6M in 2012) of the TCLP gross revenues. With this plan, Elmwood will once again benefit the Citizens of Traverse City through this facility in a very different and exciting way. TCLP has an opportunity to contribute to the change Elmwood is working toward.