TRAVERSE CITY—In January, the City of Traverse City began a process to study five streets within the City (Garfield Ave., Eighth Street, Fourteenth Street, East Front and West Front), with a focus on increasing economic vitality, increasing housing choice and improving public infrastructure. The City held two public workshops—one for property owners and businesses along the corridors and one for the general public. Representatives from Houseal Lavigne Associates, the City-hired consultants, led the community workshops.
In addition to the community workshop feedback, the consultants have been gathering background data including conducting an existing conditions inventory, collecting demographic information, evaluating economic and market conditions, reviewing existing infrastructure and utilities and examining current zoning and development controls. The consultants also created a project website that features an interactive mapping tool, resident and business questionnaires and an online visual preference survey. Community members and business owners are encouraged to provide feedback regarding the five corridors online. The link to the project website can be found on the City’s homepage: www.traversecitymi.gov
For the success of the project, it is critical that City residents participate in the process. City of Traverse City Manager Ben Bifoss agrees. “I strongly encourage City residents and business owners to provide feedback on the Corridor project website,” states Bifoss. Community members can complete an online survey, create an interactive map that pin-points specific problem areas or community assets and weigh in on a Character Survey where about 80 images are rated on a five-point scale to determine how you feel about the visual appearance, character or appropriateness.
Elizabeth Whelan is hopeful that neighborhood residents will take advantage of this unique opportunity to provide the City with their vision of what our corridors could become. Whelan, who is president of the Boardman Neighborhood Association and member of the Corridor Steering Committee states, “for Boardman Neighborhood that is bordered by Front and Eighth Streets, two of the corridors being studied, the results of the study could have great impacts. I am involved to try to ensure that the corridors enhance the neighborhoods.”
By early-April, there will be several project deliverables including a Future Development Feasibility Model, Preliminary Economic Feasibility and Target Market Report and an Existing Conditions Synthesis Report. On April 10, the Corridor Steering Committee will meet to review the preliminary project reports. The next community workshop is tentatively slated for early August.
For more information on the study and how you can get involved, contact Russ Soyring, City Planning Director at 231.922.4778 or visit the City’s web site www.traversecitymi.gov.
The Corridor Study is funded as one part of a Sustainable Communities Planning Grant awarded to Grand Traverse County that will also develop a Grand Traverse County Master Plan and Housing Strategy. The City of Traverse City hired Houseal Lavigne Associates, an award winning firm specializing in community development and urban design, to conduct the Corridor Study. A ten-member Corridor Steering Committee, a sub-committee of the Traverse City Planning Commission, has been established to oversee the process, which is expected to be complete this fall.
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