In commemoration of The Rotary Club of Traverse City’s 100 years of service to our region, Rotary Charities has awarded a grant of $1 million to the Traverse City Downtown Development Authority. TCDDA will develop Rotary Square, a gathering space in the heart of downtown designed by and for the people of Traverse City. The project will transform two connected parking lots at the northeast corner of Cass and State streets into a public plaza. Well located to guard against summer heat and winter winds, Rotary Square will host social and cultural events year-round.
“The committee of Rotarians considers a civic square to be an outstanding project for the community,” says Beth Karczewski, Chair of the Centennial Grant Committee. “The development of Rotary Square will build on our already vibrant and strong downtown.”
Rotary Charities has been instrumental in the development of downtown. From the preservation of Park Place Hotel and the State Theatre to the construction of the Great Lakes Campus and Discovery Pier, Rotary has invested for decades in hallmark spaces for celebration and education.
“Our first Rotary Club President was J.T. Milliken, and we couldn’t imagine a better way to honor our history than to create a community asset in the old Milliken’s parking lot,” Beth says. “We are very proud of our 100-year legacy as the Rotary Club of Traverse City.”
As business development in the downtown core continues, Rotary Square will be a people-centered space that is free and available to all. TCDDA is committed to an ongoing, community-led design process that will allow citizens to decide how their civic square will be used for generations to come. In addition to providing casual space to share lunch with friends or read a book, proposed events include an ice skating rink, Santa’s arrival and art installations.
“The Civic Square has been identified within the DDA Plan for over 25 years and with Rotary’s Charities awarding this legacy project, the civic square will be a reality,” says Jean Derenzy, Chief Executive Officer of TCDDA. “On behalf of the DDA, I am thrilled at this tremendous opportunity to preserve space for citizens to gather, debate, and embrace the importance of what makes a downtown great.”
—Press release provided by Rotary Club of Traverse City