The dynamic conversation about City Lot in Traverse City is indicative of the community’s interest in the ongoing project. After receiving a PlacePlans grant in 2015, Traverse City is reimagining the downtown property and seeking input and ideas from the public. Located at 500 W. Front Street, the property currently includes the fire station, attached office building, parking lot, alley, greenspace, and Kids Creek. Influence Design Forum is collaborating with the Michigan Municipal League on the placemaking project with the goal to create a community spot for residents and visitors.

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There are three original proposals for the City Lot property which include selling parcels of the land for private development, creating a civic hub, and remodeling the current buildings and property.

“Alternative 2, the civic hub concept, has been popular,” says Nate Elkins of Influence Design Forum. “Attendees at the recent Concept Release Party held at the Workshop Brewing Company expressed how they would like to see some private development incorporated into this alternative.”

A majority would like to see the property improved, Nate says, “The community really appreciates greenspaces, natural resources, and public spaces.”

Currently, the project’s design team is modifying Alternative 2 to represent the community’s input. The public can continue to be involved in the design process by attending the Planning Commission meeting set for January 12 at 7 p.m. The meeting will be held in the training room of the Governmental Center on Boardman Avenue in Traverse City. Check for updates on or on Facebook.

Alternative Three: Private Development

The fire station would remain in its current location, but it would get a facade improvement and interior upgrades. The office would be torn down. The western half of the property would be split into two or three lots and sold for private development. A public plaza and walkway would be added between the station and the private lots.

Find out more about this option at

Alternative Two: Civic Hub

The property would be developed as a mix of public buildings and spaces. The existing fire station and office building would be torn down to make room for the new buildings, and a new fire station would be built on the western edge of the property along with a fire training tower. A community center would be constructed. It would include a multi-use auditorium/gymnasium, event space, office, and cafe. In addition, three plazas would be built to provide outdoor event space.

Find out more about this option at

Alternative One: Remodel It

The fire station and the attached office building would remain in their current location. Both would get facade improvements such as new doors, windows, siding, and paint. The interior of the fire station and the surrounding property would also get minor improvements and a public plaza would be built at the corner of Front Street and Oak Street.

Find out more about this option at

Explore more about what it’s like to live, work, and play in Grand Traverse County in this MyNorth video by videographer Kris Riley:

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