TRAVERSE CITY -- A revitalized Traverse City bayfront is in the works.

Traverse City commissioners discussed how to move forward with conceptual plans to build enhancements such as additional pedestrian crosswalks across Grandview Parkway, new and improved restrooms, children's play equipment and both beach and trail improvements, among other amenities. Much of the conversation at Monday's study session focused on how to pay for a bayfront overhaul and whether to seek proposal requests for a preliminary engineering study.

One idea is to tap the city's Brown Bridge Trust Fund to help pay for bayfront improvements -- something voters must approve -- and combine those dollars with other local, state and federal grant funds.

Matt McDonough, city resident and land protection director for a local land conservancy, said he supports using trust fund dollars for bayfront improvements, but he wants it done economically.

"I'm not opposed to using Brown Bridge Trust Fund dollars for these types of projects, especially those for the benefit of the public and those tied to recreation," McDonough said.

He just doesn't want the city to spend local trust fund money alone.

"Be smart about it and leverage those trust fund dollars with other funds," McDonough said.

The city could use local trust fund dollars as match grant money for applications to the Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund and other foundations, McDonough said.

Voters will want a solid plan before they OK the use of trust fund dollars, said Commissioner Ralph Soffredine.

"It's about time we move something on this," he said.

Traverse City's Downtown Development Authority budgeted up to $100,000 in local tax capture funds this year to pay for a preliminary engineering study, said Bryan Crough, community development director.

Such a study will include specific designs, cost projections, funding options and a plan to phase in improvements, said Nate Elkins, the city's Parks and Recreation Commission chairman.

"My suggestion would be ... we need to get this plan done on paper. We may only do one thing at a time, but we know where it's going," said Commissioner Jody Bergman.

Commissioners did not make any decisions at Monday's meeting.

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