On June 7, Rotary Camps & Services of Traverse City will open the former Traverse City Light & Power coal dock in Greilickville to the public for the first time since the dock was constructed in the 1930s.

The new open space will give the community access to West Grand Traverse Bay, provide a spot for tall ship docking, offer recreation opportunities and connect to nearby parks. The public will also have a chance to see stunning views of downtown Traverse City from the water, a view previously only available by boat.

Rotary Camps & Services is in the process of choosing a new name for the former coal dock and has invited the public to help (click here to share your suggestions). The survey will remain open through Friday, June 10, and the new name will be revealed the week of June 20 to 24.

We talked with Rotary Camps & Services Trustee Bob Stowe to find out more about the Grand Traverse Bay coal dock project.

Photo by Traverse City Light & Power

Photo by Traverse City Light & Power

What’s the significance of the Grand Traverse Bay coal dock to the Traverse City and Leelanau region?

“It’s one of the original coal unloading sites in the state and was in operation from the 1930s until sometime in the 1990s. When the city stopped unloading coal there, spots were leased to the Traverse Tall Ship Company. It has always been an industrial dock and has never been open to the public. This will be a new experience.”

See a pictorial history of the former coal dock. 

There are several top priorities for the property such as tall ship docking, public access and green spaces. Are there other possibilities for the former coal dock?

“Tall ships are our first priority because the coal dock will be the only place they can be seen up close. They’re an iconic image of Traverse City. You never see a photo of the bay without a tall ship in it. In the next few years, we’d like to be able to host regular events like a tall ship festival and dinner cruises.”

What will the dock offer to the community once it’s open to the public? 

“It’s a unique opportunity. It’s a chance to share a bit of Michigan history and offer access to the water. We’re hoping people will walk or ride to the dock and see the area from a different perspective. The coal dock will be a recreational anchor for the public.”

Attend the grand opening of the Grand Traverse Bay coal dock on June 7 to share your ideas on how you’d like to see the space used.

More Northern Michigan Attractions

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Photo(s) by Anderson Aerial Photography