Master Plan for Hickory Hills Unveiled

A northern Michigan ski and recreation area may soon be getting the improvements many have been waiting years for.

A master plan was unveiled Monday to Traverse City and Garfield Township commissioners.

It’s for improvements at the Hickory Hills Ski Area.

Many think these changes will encourage people to use it year round.

The possibility of big changes at Hickory Hills is exciting to many, but there’s a ways to go before we see any of that happening.

“It has been a discussion, ongoing, for more than a decade as far as this is a great community asset, what do we need to do to keep it as a great community asset for the next 50 years, 60 years.”

Two concepts were presented to commissioners.

Concept “A” would build upon existing facilities and expand recreational opportunities. It would cost around $4.3 million. 

Concept “B” would virtually turn Hickory Hills into a clean slate, adding a new lodge, costing around $5.3 million. 

“I think both A and B have great potential but we shouldn’t feel tied to an absolute decision like, this is A and this is set in stone, and this is B and it’s set in stone,” says Traverse City commissioner, Tim Werner.

He believes some tweaking can be done to each concept, which will then in turn become the ideal plan for Hickory Hills. 

“In starting this project at this particular time, a big part of it was, ‘How do we come up with a project that the community will get behind?’ and doesn’t just become another study on the shelf.”

With hefty price tags for each plan, the next step in this process will be a small one. 

Werner explains, “As far as some of the low cost improvements, through awareness, improve user ship, let’s see if we can really get more people here, let’s not spend the money, big dollar amounts until we show ourselves that we can attract more people. Then I think as a community, we’d feel more comfortable spending money.”

While everyone at the meeting supports this idea, a few questions were brought up as to the impact on tax payers with these changes, and the increase in traffic in the neighborhood near Hickory Hills.