Traverse City Record-Eagle

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May 15, 2014

Pier project launched

TRAVERSE CITY — City officials will cast their first line this week on a proposed bayfront fishing pier by posting a help-wanted ad for an engineering team to lead the design project.

The advertisement seeks a consulting team to complete the design, preliminary engineering, environmental studies and construction drawings for an approximately 550-foot-long pier that extends into the bay at the mouth of the Boardman River. The city has a $232,000 grant from the Great Lakes Fishery Trust to fund studies that will determine if a pier is feasible.

Mayor Michael Estes strongly supports a public fishing pier in the city.

“I can’t identify another town our size that sits on the Great Lakes that doesn’t have a public pier,” Estes said. “I see this as a huge attraction, both to our residents and our visitors.”

Officials altered the process used to select consultants for the last major bayfront project, the reconstruction of Clinch Park and the addition of its troubled splash pad.

“Clinch Park was handled inappropriately,” Estes said.

Estes and Commissioner Ross Richardson, who has taken a more cautious approach, joined a study committee comprised of various water-related agencies that will review applicants and make a recommendation to the full commission. Estes said city commissioners will be “fully engaged” throughout the process and both the city planner and engineer will have more oversight authority over consultants than they had in the Clinch Park process.

The water feature at Clinch Park opened without a permit and a host of design flaws quickly emerged and led to the spraying of sewage-tainted water on children. The feature has other drainage problems and will require a full-time person this summer to maintain it.

City officials await a report from experts hired to help assess responsibility for some of the water feature’s problems.

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