Traverse City News and Events

Brown Bridge, Clancy Parks On The Agenda

July 5, 2016

Significant improvements to two Traverse City parks could move ahead this summer if city commissioners approve funding proposals for the projects at their 7pm meeting tonight (Tuesday).

Brown Bridge Quiet Area
A long-planned pedestrian foot bridge over the Boardman River on the east end of the Brown Bridge Quiet Area is ready to be installed, enhancing access to a secluded section of the park.

City commissioners approved designating $300,000 from the Brown Bridge Trust Parks Improvement Fund last year for improvements at the Brown Bridge Quiet Area. While terms initially called for fundraisers to raise the required $300,000 in outside matching funds in full before any city dollars were released, City Manager Marty Colburn is recommending commissioners approve releasing funds in smaller amounts for individual park projects.

Commissioners would approve each project as it comes forward, along with the release of dollars up to a total $300,000. The approach is "consistent with a recent action taken by the commission in connection with Hickory Hills," according to Colburn, "which allowed flexibility to spend funds as matching funds became available for individual projects, rather than only after a match for the full pledge has been achieved."

A donated 54'x5' angle iron truss-style bridge is sitting at Ranch Rudolph waiting to be transferred to its new location in the Brown Bridge Quiet Area. Located near the outlet of Grasshopper Creek, the site used to host a bridge built by the Boy Scouts in the 1970s, but the structure failed in the '80s and was removed. Along with a second future bridge planned for the park's west side, the new bridge will complete a nine-mile trail loop through the park and help "connect hiking trails across the Boardman River in a remote section of the Quiet Area," according to Steve Largent of the Grand Traverse Conservation District.

Fundraisers received a $10,000 private cash donation to help complete the project. Those funds are eligible for a $10,000 match from the city's Brown Bridge Trust Parks Improvement Fund. The city's match will be used to "install bridge abutments (and) purchase lumber for the bridge deck, railings and adjoining boardwalks," according to Largent. The National Guard has also offered to air lift the bridge the two miles from Ranch Rudolph to the Brown Bridge Quiet Area as part of a training exercise at no charge to the city, except for special air liability coverage.

Clancy Park
A combination of city general fund and parks dollars, grant funding and neighborhood donations could pay for an estimated $201,000 overhaul of Clancy Park on the base of Old Mission Peninsula.

After previously being rejected for state grant funding for the project in 2015, the city was recently notified it was approved this grant cycle for $45,000 from the Natural Resources Trust Fund to pay for park improvements. Orchard Heights neighborhood is halfway through raising its contribution of $4,000 for the project, which calls for replacing old playground equipment with "natural" and traditional playscapes, installing accessible sidewalks with connector paths to park equipment, updating the park's landscaping, and installing new bike racks, benches, and a picnic shelter.

City commissioners will consider formally accepting the state grant tonight, as well as pledging $49,000 from the Brown Bridge Trust Parks Improvement Fund to the project. The combined contributions from the state and neighborhood would constitute the required outside match for those funds. An additional $103,000 contribution from the city's general fund would cover the rest of the costs for the project, which is included in the city's capital improvement plan.

Pictured above: Clancy Park

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