Acme Township boasts nearly 10 miles of beautiful Lake Michigan shoreline on the edge of Traverse City. Unfortunately, little of the shoreline is open and accessible to the public. Currently, commercial and residential development hinders views and prevents public access from much of the waterfront. Many of the 24 privately-owned parcels along this corridor are currently for sale. Acme Township’s Shoreline Preservation Committee has been working in partnership with the Grand Traverse Regional Land Conservancy to secure funding to acquire properties to initiate the development of a shoreline park, which was identified as a need through a public visioning initiative that was funded by Rotary Charities of Traverse City in 2006.

An initial Phase I goal has been established to acquire three properties adjacent to the existing Bayside Park near the U.S. 31 North and M-72 East intersection. The Grand Traverse Regional Land Conservancy is working with land owners in the focus area to coordinate appraisals and secure option agreements to purchase the properties. Once the properties are purchased, the plan is to demolish the existing buildings, return the shoreline to its natural state, and open it to public use by extending the boundaries of Bayside Park.

The Grand Traverse Regional Land Conservancy worked with the township to prepare and submit an application to the Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund for $3,006,000 to support property acquisition in Phase I. Acme Township officials and the Shoreline Preservation Commiteee are working with the Conservancy to raise an additional $1,002,000 to match the competitive Trust Fund grant.

The Les and Anne Biederman Foundation is one group that has stepped forward to advance the protection of Phase I properties with a generous grant of $20,000. "Putting this beautiful shoreline property in public hands enhances the quality of life for everyone in the region,” said the Foundation’s President, Ross Biederman.

Acme Township Supervisor Wayne Kladder commented on the proposed protection of the mile-long stretch of shoreline: “The Township has developed a vision for a more open, accessible shoreline for present and future generations to enjoy. The community’s goal is to create open viewscapes and public access to the shoreline from MDOT Park at Five Mile Road to Bayside Park near the U.S. 31 North and M-72 East intersection. We see this vision as complementary to the broader regional community’s vision for the need for more recreation opportunities, interconnected trails and open spaces, and access to beaches. Citizens are telling us that they want these types of “quality of life”benefits, and recent economic data indicate that these types of amenities are what people and businesses seek when they choose a place to live and work. Reinventing our shoreline at the gateway to our region is something that just makes sense as we think about livability and community prosperity.”

Acme Shoreline Preservation Project Co-Chair Pat Salathiel stated, “The success of achieving a community vision of open, accessible shoreline in Acme Township rests in all of our hands. The opportunity to initiate the creation of a mile-long stretch shoreline for public enjoyment may not occur again in our lifetimes. Many properties are currently for sale and, if redeveloped, will be lost for generations.These shorelines are uniquely ours to preserve, enjoy and share with our children and grandchildren.”

Photo(s) by Grand Traverse Regional Land Conservancy