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What's New in Traverse City? Commission Meeting Tonight

Coal Dock, The River, More on Commission's Agenda

March 3, 2014
Coal Dock, The River, More on Commission's Agenda

Traverse City commissioners will once again consider the extent and impact of the city's event policy in light of a request from the Maritime Heritage Alliance (MHA) to host a fundraising event at the city's former TC Light & Power (TCL&P) coal dock this summer. This and more are on the agenda for tonight's commission meeting.

Maritime Heritage Alliance Fundraiser
The issue of "festival fatigue” may once again rear its head as commissioners consider MHA's request to use the city's coal dock property off M-22 in Greilickville on June 20 for a fundraising event for its SAIL Champion Program, a therapeutic sailing program tailored for at-risk youth. The ticketed evening event, called View 360°, would take place in a 40'x40' tent in the southwest corner of the coal dock and feature live music, local microbrews and food truck sales.

“This event will spotlight the ability of the property to be used for the common good of the community,” MHA leadership wrote in a presentation provided to commissioners, alluding to recent community discussions of a potential major redevelopment of the property by Discovery Center Great Lakes. MHA Vice President Rod Jones noted the organization's tall ships Madeline, Welcome and Champion have been operating from the property for years, “thus we are familiar with...requirements necessary to accommodate the public at the docks.”

MHA's request was first submitted to the TCL&P board, who unanimously voted at their February 25 meeting to refer the request to the city given the scope of the event. “Due to recent restrictions and fee increases imposed by the city commission on the Open Space, I am concerned that more event organizers will look to the coal dock property as a viable alternative to the Open Space,” TCL&P Executive Director Tim Arends wrote, noting that “authorizing events or festivals” at the dock exceeded his job responsibilities.

The city's recently overhauled event policy does not apply to the coal dock, nor is the property within city limits. But given its recent enactment of festival restrictions downtown, as well as the community's continued debate over the frequency and location of events, Traverse City Manager Jered Ottenwess recommended commissioners tonight – in addition to approving or denying MHA's specific request – consider in the long term how “special event requests for that location be handled.”

The River Returns to Clinch Park
The River owner Mike Sutherland will return to Clinch Park for his fifth year this summer – though commissioners tonight will consider some modifications to his contract. On the docket: changing Sutherland's payment to the city from a percentage of gross revenues to fixed installment payments (the amount of which was not disclosed), requiring trash and bathroom maintenance by The River, and possibly allowing Sutherland to rent out beach chairs and umbrellas this summer.

Ottenwess, noting that Sutherland is the third operator of the park's concession stand since the Clinch Park Zoo closed, told commissioners “staff felt that he had been the most successful" to date. He also said continuing with Sutherland after the recent renovations at Clinch offered “stability for the concession.”

Street, Parking Changes
The currently unnamed alley that lies south of Eighth Street between Wellington Street and Railroad Avenue in the Depot Neighborhood could get a new name tonight. Commissioners will consider approving a request – supported by area residents and businesses – to name the alley Station Street, which will soon be home to a new condominium project.

The commission will also consider formalizing a number of temporary traffic control orders downtown, making the parking changes permanent. They include: authorizing “No Parking” signs on the north side of Garland Street between Hall Street and Grandview Parkway; “No Parking” signs on both sides of the alley east of Cass Street between Fifteenth and Sixteenth streets; “2-Hour Parking 8am to 6pm Except Saturdays, Sundays and Holidays” signs in the 200 block of Eighth Street; and “No Parking” signs on both sides of Cass Street between Fourteenth and Eighth streets.

Posted: Monday, March 03, 2014 3:00 PM by Jon Becker


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