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August 7, 2013

Traverse City: Yes to park study, no to funds for parks

TRAVERSE CITY — Hickory Hills Ski Area will receive funding to study its long-term viability but cash for any city park improvements will have to wait for 2014.

The city commission voted not to ask city voters to authorize spending an estimated $2.2 million from the Brown Bridge Trust Fund on park improvements. The proposed amendment to the city charter would have capped the fund at $12.5 million and captured revenue from oil and gas royalties from underneath the Brown Bridge Quiet Area for the next five years.

Mayor Michael Estes wants to revisit the issue in December for consideration of a ballot question in 2014.

The city approved spending up to $16,000 on a master plan process for Hickory Hills which operates at an average annual loss of $100,000. The master plan for the park will look at fully utilizing the park assets year-round, its management structure, financial sustainability, and possible future ski hill developments.

The study is contingent on Garfield Township contributing $8,000 towards the study and Friends of Hickory Hills and the Grand Traverse Area Ski Club chipping in $4,000 each.

Garfield Township will consider the request on Aug. 13 at 6 p.m. in the township hall.



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