Clinch Park Problems Closer To Being Fixed

“Repairs need to happen because there were some design deficiencies,” said Traverse City Mayor Michael Estes.

Issues at a popular Traverse City park seem to be on their way to being solved.

Since its big redesign, Clinch Park has seen its share of problems.

Some of them include water going over and breaking down the break walls, beach erosion, sidewalks collapsing and sewage water problems on the splash pad.

Tonight, Traverse City commissioners unanimously agreed to go forward with a private consultant to work on fixing some of those issues.

This step comes at a high cost of up to$70,000.

But tonight commissioners decided it’s the best option for the city.

“Clinch Park is the city mainstay,” Estes said. “We made a lot of improvements. We invested a lot of money. Most of the changes have been positive, we have to continue to correct any deficiencies that exist.”

The city has decided Baird and Associates will be the ones behind the park’s repairs.

Estes says this will help get rid of the problems plaguing it for so long.

“We have a lot of structural issues and people think that you throw a couple rocks in the water and you stop the waves but it’s far more complicated than that. This takes technical marine engineers to figure out how your create break walls retain sand and a constant beach.”

The city engineer says going with an outside agency is the best course of action.

Right now they are slammed with other projects and this is the most efficient way, despite its high cost.

The River at Clinch Park owner agrees.

“There’s a lot of issues with this, especially the high water that we haven’t seen in a long time on Lake Michigan, so the undermining that happened makes sense,” said Michael Sutherland. “So I think the city is doing a really good job in making sure that we handle it properly with folks that know the impacts of high water.”

Estes hopes that they find a settlement with Hamilton Anderson, the group that did the original redevelopments, that will pay for this big cost.

Commissioners still have a lot of decisions to make and think about.

“I would encourage us to do something that is very low impact,” said commissioner Jeanine Easterday. “We don’t want something washing away again but at the same time I don’t know that the tax payer is interested in rebuilding this terrace every year because of wave action.”

Although work on this project wouldn’t begin at least until next fall, the city will do some minor improvements to make the area safe for visitors this summer.