Traverse City News and Events

Injunction Halts FishPass Construction

By Beth Milligan | Jan. 16, 2021

Construction on FishPass at the Union Street Dam - which was slated to start Monday - has been temporarily halted by a court order.

While city officials distributed multiple releases Friday touting the start of the $19.3 million construction project early next week, Judge Thomas Power later issued a temporary injunction delaying that start date. City resident Rick Buckhalter is challenging the FishPass project, arguing that the Union Street Dam site is considered city parkland and thus cannot be “disposed” of without a vote of city residents. Buckhalter contends that the major, long-lasting changes being made to the park as part of FishPass constitute a disposal of city parkland.

Power expressed concern that trees he was told in earlier court proceedings would be preserved and not cut down as part of FishPass construction are now marked at the site for possible removal. The apparent change in plans prompted Power to call the larger project into question, saying it was important to make sure “all the information has been provided” accurately about FishPass before proceeding. Power ordered a halt on any tree cutting, earth removal, or other construction at the site pending a further order of the court. The move means construction will likely be delayed until later this spring.

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