SUTTONS BAY — Suttons Bay residents and visitors will observe some changes taking shape in the village this summer.
The Watershed Center Grand Traverse Bay is using a nearly $1 million grant from the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative to construct infiltration trenches under Front Street and the west side of M-22, and install rain gardens in residential areas. Construction began last week and is expected to last three months.
Portions of Front Street will be closed while the village also installs a new water main and sidewalk connecting M-22 to Marina Park. That project is separate from the Watershed Center’s.
“For the next couple months, people are going to have to bear with us for a while,” said Watershed Program Director Sarah U’Ren.
Trenches and rain gardens will cut down on storm water that carries oil, herbicides and pesticides into the bay at Marina Park Beach and South Shore Park, which are both near storm drains. U’Ren said South Shore Park occasionally saw elevated E. coli levels, and Marina Park Beach wasn’t monitored due to funding.
She referred to data from similar setups at Traverse City’s East Bay and Bryant parks, where nearby storm drains caused spikes in E. coli levels after heavy rains.
“We didn’t spend time doing a lot of expensive monitoring there for oils and grease and pesticides. We knew that was an issue so we wanted to take care of it,” U’Ren said.
The village will resurface and add a sidewalk along Front Street to increase accessibility, said Suttons Bay Village Manager Wally Delamater.
“There’s never been sidewalk on that street,” Delamater said.
Construction lines up to the foot of Boone’s Prime Time Pub’s back door. Scott Parkhurst, part of the restaurant’s management team, said the rain gardens and sidewalk are overall positive changes for Suttons Bay, especially with last year’s completion of TART’s Leelanau Trail that brought increased bike traffic.
“Locals seem to be excited about what’s to come,” Parkhurst said.
Construction will be buttoned up during popular times, such as July 4th. Village officials will try to remain sensitive to business owners’ needs, Delamater said.
“We understand that’s part of what we are as a summer tourism community. But we also have to get the work done through the summer,” he said.