Traverse City — On June 25, the updated Clinch Park was officially opened to the public with a ribbon cutting ceremony. The redesigned beachfront features a modern pavilion, a splash pad for children and an improved trail system. Enhancements to the Cass Street Tunnel were also completed as part of this project.
Several generous local donors as well as public funds, including a $500,000 grant from the Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund as well as a $100,000 grant from the Land and Water Conservation Fund, made the project possible. Traverse City Light and Power also generated $1,000,000 to the project.
While over 100 people were in attendance, one presence was sincerely missed at the ceremony. Doug Luciani, who spoke on behalf of the funders for the project, pointed out that Bryan Crough, the late Executive Director of Traverse City’s Downtown Development Authority, was unable to see the project that he envisioned nine years ago to its completion.
Luiciani quoted Crough in his remarks at the ceremony. “‘Bryan said, ‘Our regional identity and our economy rest on fresh water,” Luciani quoted, “By creating an inviting waterfront, we will not only have a great return on our investment we will be able to provide world class access to our unique water resources, the impact to our economy cannot be overstated.’”
The Clinch Park improvement is part of a larger, long-term renovation plan to revitalize two miles of Traverse City beachfront. “We have two miles of beach that we want to enhance with some improvements,” Michael Estes, the mayor of Traverse City stated confidently. “The total project probably falls well over $20 million. No it won’t happen tomorrow, but it will happen.”