Splash Pad Upgrades, School Resource Officer, DDA Projects on the City Agenda

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Traverse City commissioners will discuss a proposal Monday to invest nearly $109,000 in improvements to the city’s Clinch Park wading pool that will improve its accessibility for all users, reduce water and energy waste and will allow the paddling pool to operate more autonomously, freeing up staff time. for other park projects. Commissioners will also discuss proposals to add a School Resource Officer to Traverse City Central High School, create a neighborhood business zone in downtown Traverse City, and convert State Street, Pine Street and Boardman Avenue into two-way streets.

Clinch Park Splash Pad
A $300,000 settlement the city of Traverse City agreed to in 2016 from Hamilton Anderson Associates — the company the city blamed for design flaws in the Clinch Park wading pool — could help pay for a series of new improvements to the waterscape.

City commissioners will discuss a proposal to apply settlement funds to a $108,746 contract — plus a 15% contingency of $16,311 — with Vortex, a leading wading pool installation company. According to a memo from the city’s superintendent of parks and recreation, Michelle Hunt, the city has relied in recent years on working with local swimming pool companies who have “marginal knowledge of flood protection systems. splashes”. Additionally, due to the age and condition of the wading pool, city staff cannot rely on automatic chemical feeds and on/off functions and must instead manually oversee operations, “which impedes park maintenance, forestry work, beach grooming and other summer chores. Hunt says. This contrasts with other local wading pools that operate with minimal staff supervision, such as in Kingsley and Blair Township, according to Hunt.

As part of the contract proposal, Vortex will install rain and wind sensors that will allow the Clinch Park wading pool to assess weather conditions and automatically adjust operations. Chemical levels can also be balanced automatically, and each half of the splash pad will be under its own activator, which means the big arch would shut down if people are not under it for a while (the activity will reactivate the splash pad) . A new feature of Cascade River would allow “hands-on exploration of water through interactive stream and wave games and orbs,” make amenities accessible to a wide range of users, and encourage “collaborative play in allowing many children to play at the same time,” according to a note from Vortex.

The planned upgrades will “significantly” reduce the amount of water, chemicals and energy used at the wading pool, Hunt says. Vortex is available to complete upgrades this fall and spring “with no disruption to the wading pool opening in the summer of 2023,” Hunt said. “Our goal with this project is to have the upgrades in place by opening day 2023 for the public to enjoy.”

School Resource Officer
Traverse City Police Department Chief Jeff O’Brien will discuss a proposal with commissioners on Monday to reinstate a school resource officer (SRO) at Traverse City Central High School at the request of public schools of the Traverse City area. TCAPS hopes to take advantage of an expanded grant program approved in the new state budget, which allocated an additional $25 million for on-campus ORS. The state will cover 50% of the cost of an SRO, with the school covering 25% and the local district law enforcement agency – which would be the official employer of the SRO – covering the remaining 25%. Since Central High is in the town of Traverse City, TCPD would be the partner law enforcement agency for an SRO at that school.

In a memo to commissioners, O’Brien called the SRO program — which TCPD previously ran at TCAPS from 1982 to 2019 — “one of the largest, most successful and enduring programs” within the police department. . “We believe that the benefits of this program are reflected in the deterrent effect and the improvement of the social climate offered by the presence of a police officer on campus, the feeling of security due to the daily presence of an armed police officer in school, administrative efficiencies gained, personal relationships between officer and student body, and direct access to law enforcement services directly on campus,” O’Brien wrote.

According to O’Brien’s memo, TCAPS hopes to commit to a two-year contract for an SRO at Central High School and “would like to perform a contract within the next 30 days.” According to TCAPS Superintendent Dr. John VanWagoner, “The primary objective we have in placing an SRO at Central High School is for law enforcement to work side-by-side with administrators, teachers, support staff , students, and parents with the goal of building relationships that will help reduce criminal activity, substance abuse, and acts of violence in and around our school buildings and community.

Downtown Enterprise Zone
Traverse City Downtown Development Authority (DDA) CEO Jean Derenzy will discuss with commissioners on Monday a proposal to create a Neighborhood Enterprise Zone (NEZ) in downtown Traverse City. A NEZ is a state tool that allows communities to create a defined area where property tax reductions are available in exchange for developers building or rehabilitating residential housing. Derenzy says NEZs could provide opportunities to build more downtown rental apartments targeted at the “missing middle” salary range of local workers.

NEZs are established for a period of 6 to 15 years and can be designated at several locations in the city. They must contain at least 10 stepped plots, which must be compact and contiguous. Under NEZ state rules, each individual homeowner in the area must apply for the tax exemption if interested. It is not automatically granted to owners and only applies to the residential part of the developments, not the land or any commercial element. A typical NEZ could see its taxes reduced by 53% in the first to 12th year, then 11% in the 13th year, 7% in the 14th year and 4% in the 15th year, with the exemption removed thereafter.

Derenzy wants to solicit feedback from the commission and answer any questions about NEZs before formally submitting a proposal for approval. She says the NEZs are an example of a legislative tool that should be explored as city leaders “seek opportunities to support and provide a range of housing options, including workforce housing. “.

Two way street conversion
Derenzy will also discuss the results of a traffic flow study Monday that recommends piloting the conversion of State Street, Pine Street and Boardman Avenue to two-way traffic in downtown Traverse City. DDA board members voted unanimously in June to accept the study’s recommendation and forward it to city commissioners for review and approval. The conversion of State, Pine and Boardman on a trial basis for two years – with the possibility of extending the pilot project to four years if necessary – will allow the DDA to “implement, iterate, adjust, adjust, monitor and operate the mobility infrastructure while coordinating the pilot schedule with construction and maintenance activities,” according to Chris Zull of consultancy Progressive AE.

Derenzy allocated $400,000 under the 2022-2023 DDA budget for improvements to the Larry C. Hardy parking lot to accommodate two-way traffic on State Street. This would include reversing the current exit and entry lanes and installing a new ticketing island and additional pay stations. According to the consultants, the benefits of two-way streets included slower vehicle speeds, improved transit and traffic flow, and increased accessibility to businesses.

City commissioners meet at 7 p.m. Monday at the Government Center at 400 Boardman Avenue. As the meeting is a study session, Commissioners will not act on the above points, but rather provide feedback to staff before possibly voting on the proposals at a future meeting.

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