West Grand Traverse Bay One Step Closer To Having Pier

“It will give Traverse City a new face or a new look — or a new point of destination,” says Mayor Michael Estes.

West Grand Traverse Bay — now one step closer to having a fishing pier.

Tonight Traverse City commissioners decided to move forward with plans to design this multi-million dollar project.

But, that doesn’t mean it’s all approved to be built.

People have been talking about this pier for years.

It now seems to be closer to reality — but many aren’t sure it’s the right move.

“It will be a point that people will fix on. Residents and non residents alike,” Estes said.

Imagine a 550 foot pier jetting out from the mouth of the Boardman River into the bay.

This is what designers envisioned and pitched to commissioners tonight.

“One of the purposes of that pier is to provide fishing opportunities,” said Bob Doyle, with Smith JJR, the design group. “The pier could also be used for the public to go out and watch the sunset, take a nice stroll, get to interact with the bay in a way that they couldn’t otherwise.”

The pier would have sitting areas, shade structures and a fishing hole at the end.

But not everyone is on board with project that totals $8.7 million.

Some community members and commissioners voiced opposition.

“I’m still skeptical,” said Tim Werner who voted against. “But my skepticism comes more from why spend so much money on this particular feature for Traverse City and what is it about a public fishing pier that’s so wonderful that we should spend this many million dollars?”

There are things still to be answered, especially where the money will come from, and whether it will stand up to the elements.

“We need to know this is gonna be engineered right and it’s gonna work and it’s gonna last a longtime,” said Jim Carruthers who voted in support.

The mayor is hopeful this pier will be realized — but knows it has to get a lot of support first.

“This is a multimillion dollar project the money is not going to come from the city’s general coffers to pay for this. We are gonna have to sell this project to a lot of people,” Estes said. “The public also has to buy in to it.”

The idea is that this pier will be funded by grants and donations.

But again, tonight the city only approved to continue designing this pier, not to actually build it or fund it.

The final drawing will be shown to commissioners in August.