Lower Boardman River planning sessions scheduled

Kayakers paddle on the Lower Boardman River on Friday in Traverse City. The Lower Boardman River group has planned a series of focus group meetings at the City Opera House on July 24 and 25.

TRAVERSE CITY — A series of focus group sessions to gather public input for the Lower Boardman River plan has been scheduled.

Members of the public with an interest in the lower river’s master plan can attend one of the four available sessions set on Wednesday and Thursday, July 24 and 25. The four sessions at the City Opera House are broken down for various interest groups.

Those affiliated with recreation groups are asked to attend the 9 to 11 a.m. Wednesday session, followed by community development and business organizations from 1:30 to 3:30 p.m. Wednesday. Business and property owners are asked to attend the 9 to 11 a.m. Thursday meeting, with sustainability groups set for 12 to 2 p.m. Thursday.

Jean Derenzy, chief executive for the Traverse City Downtown Development Authority, said even if participants can’t attend during their designated focus group time, they should attend any session they can.

“We are trying to reach out to as many stakeholders and river users as possible,” she said.

Jennifer Jay with the Grand Traverse Regional Land Conservancy serves as the river team’s co-chairwoman. She said the project will continue to gather input through August.

It’s especially important for interested area residents to fill out the project’s online survey, Jay said.

Additionally, she said local service groups or organizations that would like to request presentations about the project should contact the DDA office.

Derenzy said once the public input period is completed, organizers will pull together a visioning plan for the Lower Boardman River and bring it back to the public for review.

The DDA established the Lower Boardman River Leadership Team as an ad hoc committee charged with creating what officials call a unified plan to protect, restore and preserve access and wise use of the river corridor. Plans call for a final strategic plan for the Lower Boardman to be adopted by Traverse City’s DDA board, City Commission and Planning Commission, so future decision-making falls within the arrangement’s parameters.

Project plans also call for the identification of policies, facilities, amenities, programs and other considerations that should be implemented to encourage balanced, sustainable and reasonable use of the river. Expectations are the plan will identify priorities for recreational and educational initiatives, along with land and water management efforts to address stormwater controls and habitat protection.

Visit www.lowerboardman.downtowntc.com for more information.

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