TRAVERSE CITY — Front Street was front and center at the monthly meeting of the Traverse City Downtown Development Authority.
Three concepts for the redesign of East Front Street from Progressive AE dominated the first part of the DDA meeting on Friday. Erosion underneath leads from businesses to the sewer main on a separate section of downtown’s main thoroughfare was part of the second half of the meeting.
Chris Zull of Progressive AE presented three scenarios for East Front Street after seven input sessions the last week of September and an online survey that continues through Oct. 22. The concepts include one with a pedestrian emphasis, one with a bicycle emphasis and a third with an “outdoor seating, flex parking” emphasis.
Progressive AE is finishing working on a circulation study looking at a number of options for both one- and two-way traffic. Zull said wider sidewalks in the concepts is a “very intentional” design feature throughout.
“Pedestrians are No. 1,” Zull said of the feedback. “I haven’t heard anything otherwise.”
Any changes to East Front Street will also affect State Street as well as surrounding neighborhoods.
The entrance to downtown from the east will also be influenced by planned work on Grandview Parkway by the Michigan Department of Transportation slated for 2023.
Sewer line work in the 100 block of Front Street, a topic the city and the DDA tackled before, was again the topic of discussion in a project update from DDA CEO Jean Derenzy. City Commissioner Tim Werner attended the DDA meeting and said the topic will be on its agenda Monday.
Mayor Jim Carruthers said the aging infrastructure needs to be fixed.
“The can has to stopped being kicked (down the road),” he said.
In other business at the two-hour meeting, the DDA board:
- Accepted the Healthier Drinking Culture Strategic Plan and the Downtown Tree Management Plan. The Tree Management Plan was part of the consent calendar while Carruthers removed the Healthier Drinking Culture plan, noting that the summary of the public feedback was “quite negative,” was indicative of a drinking culture problem in Traverse City and needs a quick implementation of action steps. “We need to take the bull by the horns and move things ahead sooner rather than later,” Carruthers said.
- Authorized Derenzy to issue a request for proposals to hire a consultant to examine future scenarios for the scope and funding of the DDA.
- Elected Gabe Schneider as chair, Scott Hardy as vice-chair, Jeff Joubran as treasurer and Richard Lewis as secretary during the organizational portion of the meeting. Outgoing board members T. Michael Jackson and Steve Constantin were presented with paintings of downtown TC for their lengthy service on the board.
- Went into a five-minute closed session to discuss a possible property purchase, but took no action.