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East, West Bayfronts In Transition
August 12, 2013
East, West Bayfronts In Transition

Major changes are underway along both East and West arms of Grand Traverse Bay.

While visible progress is underway on the Acme Shoreline Park, another waterfront project is quietly moving closer to reality in Greilickville.

The plan calls for the development of the township’s M-22 commercial corridor, including the installation of a boulevard, sidewalks and landscaping. The concept is to make the area more pedestrian and traffic-friendly. Parking areas would be connected with a series of small access roads and shared driveways to reduce the number of curb cuts. The project would help connect the businesses along the west side of M-22 with the waterfront amenities on the east side of the busy roadway.

A public hearing on the project was held in July and drew a handful of interested persons who were “generally supportive,” according to Elmwood Township Supervisor Jack Kelly.

Township officials have contacted businesses along M-22 to explain the project and mailed out 120 copies of the development plan. On Aug. 20, the township’s planning commission will discuss the project, which could be formally adopted at that time, according to Kelly.

Also under consideration is the installation of a traffic signal at the intersection of M-22 and Brewery Creek Lane (where Subway is located), which would require MDOT approval.

There’s been discussion of renaming the commercial strip “Port Leelanau,” a tribute to its nautical legacy. But the Greilickville name is unlikely to go away. The unincorporated community was named after Godfrey Greilick, who established a sawmill in the area during the 1850s.

While the Greilickville facelift is still in the planning stages, the Acme Shoreline Park along East Grand Traverse Bay is showing very visible changes. Years in the making, the plan is to open the waterfront to the general public from Bayside Park near the intersection of US-31 and M-72 southward to the MDOT Park near Five Mile Road. Both public and private funds have been secured to make the park a reality. More than $6 million in state grants have been secured.

The project is in its third – and final – phase, which includes the demolition of the former Embers/Mountain Jack’s restaurant building. That long-vacant structure was leveled in July. Last week, the Sun and Sand Motel was taken down. Removing those has opened up an impressive vista along the East Bay shoreline.

Acme Township plans a public meeting next month to provide an update on the project, according to Megan Olds, associate director of the Grand Traverse Regional Land Conservancy which is working with the township on the project.

Phase 3 has a $1.4 million budget. “We still have to raise $525,000 by Dec. 31,” says Olds. “We’re looking for any contribution that people would like to give. Every dollar is important. This is everybody’s park. If they believe in the project, we ask that they go to our website…give a gift over the phone or stop by our office on Long Lake Road.”


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