Friday, July 23, 2010


I started this post back in December, and after seeing Gary's post: Do you know where your closest city park is? which includes a map of Traverse City parkland, I decided I should get this wrapped up.

The big news is each Traverse City bay is poised to get revamped parks. The Acme Shoreline Park has a goal of turning one mile of East Bay into a blue mile of beachfront with volleyball courts, a playground, public marina, and open space; all connected to a TART trail spur.

See the Record-Eagle: Shoreline site in Acme to become new park

For West Bay, there is much hope for a completely new bayfront to connect downtown Traverse City to the water.

The new Bayfront Park design was recently revealed. See: bayfront plans are done

The conceptualization hits many highlights for me including a natural play area, an artesian spring and stream, an improved boat launch that will be friendlier to canoes and kayaks, more vegetation, keeping the emergent wetland at the mouth of the Boardman, dark-sky compliant lighting, fish cleaning station, improved access to the park with tunnels, etc.

However, it does appear that this was a great opportunity to develop a dedicated Farmer's Market space in the area but it isn't in the final plans. Also, to make the area more inviting to visitors of all types harness the artesian well in such a way so that boaters and others could fill up their containers with potable water. Much like how travelers stop north of Petoskey on US 31 to fill up with the well by the side of the road there. And I am not sure we need so many roundabouts but that is a topic for another post. You can't have it all I suppose.

I believe a new Bayfront will be a great addition to Traverse City and could serve as a multi-modal hub for the entire region. I hope it gets done. Even better would be tying this in to re-naturalizing the Boardman as it goes through downtown and then tie that into a whitewater park between Cass and Union.

Grand Rapids is trying it. (Grand River as downtown Grand Rapids whitewater course?)

There is a Facebook group for the Traverse City Boardman River Whitewater Park effort.

For more on the Bayfront park see:
TC bayfront plans take a step forward

Bayfront overhaul work could begin in 2011

Next, Traverse City residents clearly want a dog park. Recently in the paper there was this: Dog park project may be in the works

And when Mayor Bzdok made this post: Update for the week of November 29 to December 6 there were many comments from people wanting a dog park.

Not only would an off-leash dog park be good for the dogs but dog-walkers are great to have in the neighborhood. As mentioned in Why dog owners make the best citizens

After dark, the streets fill with dog walkers. A couple per block, at least. In the winter, they're the only people on the streets. Without them, the neighborhood would be lot emptier, and the streets would feel a lot more forbidding. Placing a couple of poodles -- and my neighborhood has a lot of poodles -- on the landscape really does wonders

I have the spot - next to the trail between Oryana and the library. An area some people are calling Old Town Park. My idea is a dog park on one side and let the other side which is already being used by beavers, rabbits, red-winged blackbirds, fox, be allowed to develop naturally. Build a high wall/fence next to the apartments to mitigate noise, though I believe the benefits to those residents having a place to exercise their dog outweighs any negatives.

I like this location because:
- it is centrally located to Traverse City's neighborhoods
- getting dog walkers in this area should help with the graffiti on the Community Sailing building and loitering on the bridge
- Oryana and McGough's should see increased sales of their pet supplies if dog owners are in the area more

And the natural area is important because it will act as a buffer when rail travel returns to the area.

Map (blue line is the park, other line is the natural area):

View Traverse City Dog Park? in a larger map

Finally, parks are great, but without a trail system connecting them (I've heard it described as a "string of pearls") it will not reach its full potential. So I hope that whatever is done is planned with TART so that all of these parks can be reached by non-motorized means.

Additional reading for inspiration:
INFRA: The Best New Urban Parks

NYT: Blueprints for a Better ‘Burb