Traverse City Record-Eagle

February 7, 2014

Long Lake may purchase lot

Traverse City Record-Eagle

---- — TRAVERSE CITY — Long Lake Township officials are negotiating to buy an 11-acre parcel that’s listed for sale at $78,000 to serve as a parking lot for a small boat launch at the end of Crescent Shores Road.

The boat ramp has no parking, cars and trailers line the road’s shoulders on busy summer days. Township officials believe the road-side parking is a safety hazard.

“It would take the parking off the road and that would make it a safer environment,” said Karen Rosa, Long Lake Township’s supervisor.

The lot has some some low, wet areas, but should have enough upland to support parking, Rosa said. Township zoning would allow for its use as a parking lot. But Rosa said township officials have not reached the point of drawing up site plans, nor have they considered such amenities such as picnic tables or bathroom facilities.

Crescent Shores Road resident Lou Beam said the community would be better served if the money was spent elsewhere.

“I don’t think this launch site warrants 11 acres just for parking,” Beam said. “It’s just a small rural ramp at the end of a county road. It’s a bit of overkill.”

Beam said safety would be better served if the township instead fixed the pot-hole-riddled road. Another option: put the money toward the purchase of the former Girl Scout camp now known as the Timbers Recreation Area, he said.

Long Lake Township and the Grand Traverse Regional Land Conservancy are on the verge of acquiring the 250-acre site with nearly 2,000 feet of frontage on the northeast corner of Long Lake. The property also contains a 20-acre lake known as Fern Lake.

“You could put a nice boat launch over there,” Beam said.

A boat launch at the Timbers is unlikely, said Matt McDonough, director of land protection at the Conservancy.

“We went through about nine public meetings and no one wanted a boat launch there,” McDonough said. “There just wasn’t any interest.”

The Conservancy continues to fundraise to meet the local match for a $2 million grant from the Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund to obtain the property for the township. McDonough said the goal was $890,000 and they still have $530,000 to collect before a June 30 deadline.

“We just had a meeting ... and we’re feeling good about it,” McDonough said.