After 25 years, the Boardman Lake Trail in Traverse City will come full circle this July. A two-mile segment along the west side of the lake is needed to complete the five-mile trail around Boardman Lake, which was first conceptualized more than two decades ago.

To help the design process of the final segment, TART Trails is seeking input from the public about their experiences as trail users, what they think needs improvement and more.

TART Trails will host a public open house on Wednesday, March 9 from 5:30 to 7:00 p.m. It will be held in Room 219 of the University Center at Northwestern Michigan College. TART Trails’ staff and project consultants will be available to share information about the project, and maps will be displayed for review.

Participants can come at any time to ask questions and share their thoughts about the trail design and future trail amenities. Comment cards will be available, and there will be an activity table for children.

“The public open house is a chance for the public to weigh in on the future corridor design,” says Brian Beauchamp, TART Trails’s Outreach and Program Director. “It’s important the design meets the needs of the community, and we want to hear everyone’s ideas in order to ensure the final product is something that we can all be proud of and that will be highly utilized.”

TART Trails is also reaching out to landowners, businesses, and neighborhoods within the West Boardman Lake corridor between Eighth Street and Logan’s Landing/South Airport Road, for input to better understand different needs and desired trail uses.

Once completed, the final section of trail from Fourteenth St. to South Airport Rd., will realize a nearly 30-year vision and provide year-round recreation and transportation choices, granting easy access to the library, parks, residential developments, commercial areas and local businesses. The future loop around the lake will provide connection to NMC’s University Center and Logan’s Landing. There is also the opportunity to create connections to South Airport Road and Cass Street, linking to BATA’s Cass Road Transfer Station and a regional trail network along the Boardman River south of South Airport Road, connecting to the Boardman River Natural Education Reserve and miles of public lands along the river.

“In today’s competitive economies, walkable bikeable cities have an economic edge,” Brian says. “They help attract and retain businesses, residents, and visitors.”

Studies find access to a trail system is an important incentive to jump start development and can serve as a catalyst for economic improvements at the community level, Brian notes. Trails are repeatedly cited as an important amenity for potential homebuyers. Surveys conducted by the National Association of Home Realtors and the National Association of Home Builders found that trails are consistently ranked as a top community amenity above golf courses, parks and access to shopping or business centers. A 2010 Del Webb and National Association of Home Builders survey also found that retirees favored walking trails and bicycling paths over golf courses.

TART Trails is working with governmental partners at the City of Traverse City, Garfield Township, and Grand Traverse County to complete the final segment of the Boardman Lake Trail. The engineering firm Prein & Newhof was hired to design the proposed trail segment between 14th Street and South Airport Road. Work is anticipated to be completed by July.

The University Center is located at 2200 Dendrinos Drive, off of Cass Road in Traverse City.

Anyone with questions about the Boardman Lake Trail process can contact TART Trails’ office for information at (231) 941-4300 or stay tuned on the project website.

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Photo(s) by TART Trails