Traverse City Record-Eagle

Archive: Monday

June 23, 2014

Session to focus on the future

TRAVERSE CITY — Commissioners will take a break from addressing pending issues to focus on three long-range planning topics.

Commissioners will discuss creating of a regional housing task force, a city strategic plan, and a targeted redevelopment area for Eighth Street when they meet in a study session today at 7 p.m. in the Governmental Center. Mayor Michael Estes said the meeting is about the future.

“All three items relate to where we are going and I think that is excellent,” Estes said. “It’s a good time to talk about it.”

Estes and Grand Traverse County Commission Chair Herb Lemcool met with city and county administrators about two months ago to discuss how the two governments can address an unmet demand for a variety of housing needs in the Grand Traverse region. Two county commissioners, two city commissioners and representatives from the city’s Housing Commission, Garfield Township and East Bay Township would comprise the task force.

“I think perhaps for the first time we can have a group of elected officials, as opposed to agencies dealing with the housing issue on a regional basis,” Estes said. “We need to get the people who are actually making the decisions together to discuss how we address the needs of this area.”

County commissioners reviewed the proposal this month and generally supported moving it ahead, Lemcool said.

The Eighth Street targeted redevelopment area would make use of a new state economic development program that would allow the city to capture new taxes from the area for public infrastructure improvements similar to a downtown development authority district. City and county officials originally looked at Eighth Street between Cass Street and Garfield Avenue.

City commissioners had some concerns about the size of the area and the amount of residential property included in the proposed district. They weren’t alone.

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