BY BRIAN McGILLIVARY
TRAVERSE CITY — The city commission may decide to abandon a portion of waterfront trail easement on Boardman Lake to make trail construction easier and allay concerns of nearby property owners.
The city acquired a 15-foot-wide easement along the western shoreline for $160,000 from the developer of the Lake Ridge Condominiums before building construction began.
When the city readied to develop that section of trail, some members of the condominium association objected. They initially asked the city to move the trail off the lake and behind the condominiums. City staff and the condominium association reached a proposed compromise that keeps the trail between the condominiums and the lake but moves it away from a 245-foot section of shoreline that juts east into the lake.
The city would still own the shoreline easement, but officials would agree not to use it.
"This creates a better trail design because it has a much softer grade and eliminates a sharp turn," said Julie Clark, executive director of Traverse Area Recreation and Transportation Trails, who helped come up with the solution. "In the scheme of the overall project it is a really small change."
The Lake Ridge Condominiums on the eastern end of 14th Street is the last continuous piece of shoreline for which the city owns a trail easement. The original easement follows the shoreline as it juts east into the lake.
The easement then makes a 90-degree turn when it hits the south property line to go west away from the lake toward 14th Street and Lake Ridge Drive.
The newly proposed alignment pulls the trail away from the water to gently curve west until it rejoins the easement running along the south property line.
"It will create a much more aesthetic path for both trail users and the Lake Ridge residents," Clark said.
Mayor Michael Estes said there was no reason to continue hugging the shoreline because the city will never get an easement from the properties immediately to the south of Lake Ridge.
"There are still views of the water, and if we can make some of our city residents who live in that association happy, plus make a great trail, it seems like something we should move forward on," he said.
The city will vote on the trail realignment and accepting state grants for trail development when it meets today at 7 p.m. in the Governmental Center.