Busy Agenda For Traverse City Commissioners: Preserve Hickory, Safe Harbor

A packed agenda on Monday for Traverse City commissioners.

An exciting announcement was made from Preserve Hickory.

Two years ago, the City Commission pledged $1.5 million from the Brown Bridge Trust Parks Improvement Fund.

However, Preserve Hickory had to match the funds within two years.

9&10’s Whitney Amann has more details on the exciting announcement.

“Let’s get building a lodge and upgrading Hickory Hills, it’s an asset to this city, it’s a reason why people move here,” said Traverse City Mayor Jim Carruthers.

An exciting announcement about what some say is a long time coming.

“We have actually surpassed our goal, we have raised over $1.9 million for capital improvements at Hickory Hills and we are here just to acknowledge that effort and secure the city’s previous commitment for the Brown Bridge Trust Fund,” said Laura Ness, president and co-founder of Preserve Hickory.

However, some people are still concerned that a big portion of the Brown Bridge Trust Parks Improvement Fund was given to just one recreation area.

“Like many people, I am still amazed that the City Commission saw nothing wrong with pledging the lion’s share of that fund to a single recreation area,” said a city resident. “It wasn’t an equitable decision.”

“I know that not everybody agrees with how the funding with the Brown Bridge Trust Fund is spent but this group had the where with all to develop a plan, come forward and put it out there, do a capital campaign and make it happen,” said Mayor Carruthers.

Some of the new improvements you can expect are an expanded disc golf course, new ski slopes, a new lodge and parking facilities.

“This summer we have a total of over $3.4 million available for capital improvements at Hickory,” said Ness. “We’ll be able to start with some site development, preliminary design, selection of an architect and programming to hopefully begin preliminary construction next spring.”

Also on the agenda, a letter of understanding from Safe Harbor.

Last year, the city sold Safe Harbor property on Franklin and Wellington Street for a homeless shelter.

Monday night was the last piece to be implemented.

The letter confirmed that after the emergency shelter is finished, they can start working on the affordable housing.

The city will be able to veto who Safe Harbor chooses to work with on the project.

“The letter of understanding just confirms that as soon as we are done and have the emergency shelter operational, which is our first priority, then we will work with the city to develop supported housing on the second parcel,” said George Thompson, board member and volunteer attorney for Safe Harbor.

All new items on the agenda Monday night, including a presentation from the Human Rights Commission on gender neutral bathrooms, were removed until their next meeting June 19th.

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