Traverse City Record-Eagle

Opinion

April 18, 2012

Clinch Park makeover will transform TC's bayfront

Sure, the splash pool is going to be a big hit, along with the rainfall fountain, the artesian well display, the concession stand and the terraces that will step up from Clinch Beach to the new bathhouse.

But among the new attractions coming to Clinch Park, none will be more welcome than the new and expanded restroom facilities.

Yes, there are restrooms now, but they're small and aging. Untold numbers of moms and dads will bless the day when the city commission agreed to a new bathhouse and bathrooms.

A $1 million allocation from Traverse City Light & Power to the $2.8 million first phase has helped ensure the project will get started this fall, as planned.

The design has incorporated many of the features residents talked about during the detailed "Your Bay, Your Say" planning process that was the impetus for the project.

Key features, some provided by the Light & Power grant, include:

• A new concession building and plaza with tables and chairs to sit and eat.

• An expanded bathhouse.

• Expanded restroom facilities

• The plaza will now include concrete pavers instead of a concrete slab; terraces from the beach up to the plaza will have natural stone walls that will allow people to sit and look over the beach.

n Accent lighting at night that will be "pretty well noticed," said city planner Russ Soyring.

• The TART bike trail will now be routed through the entire park in a sweeping S curve; without the money from Light & Power, the city had planned a short "C" design.

• Upgrades to the pedestrian tunnel under Grandview Parkway at Cass Street, including new north and south entrances, heated ramps to melt ice, and new internal lighting. The Downtown Development Authority has pledged $250,000 for tunnel upgrades.

The tunnel, like new restrooms, will be a key upgrade. A lot of folks avoid the tunnel now, particularly at dusk, because it is dark and scary.

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