Grand Traverse County Parks and Recreation is developing a master site plan for Civic Center Park and wants your input. County residents are being asked to help guide the planning and design process.

Formerly the county fairgrounds, Civic Center Park is a 45-acre park in the heart of Traverse City. Parks and Recreation Director Kristine Erickson refers to it as “a recreational hub,” which features lush green spaces, a walking track, playground, an indoor swimming pool, outdoor amphitheater, a skate park, pavilion, ball fields, a basketball court, walking/jogging path and more. With its varied facilities, programs and events, Erickson points out, the park draws approximately one million visitors annually.

“This park is being used more than ever before, but its layout and some of the facilities and green spaces are outdated to the point where they no longer serve their highest and best use,” Erickson says. “All of the projects in the history of the property have been developed and executed individually, rather than being part of a bigger picture, and a master site plan will unify all of the park’s elements through design.”

Survey data will help determine the best possible physical layout of the park, including its recreational facilities, foot and vehicle traffic and appearance. The survey is available online with a May 15 deadline to respond.

In May 2019, Grand Traverse County Parks and Recreation Commissioners passed a resolution in support of developing the master site plan, and in November 2019, County Parks and Recreation Department was awarded a $10,000 seed grant from Rotary Charities to help fund the site planning process. Parks and Recreation is matching the grant with $5,000.

After receiving responses to a request for proposals for this project, in February 2020, County Parks and Recreation commissioners passed a motion to hire the design firm of Beckett and Raeder, Inc. (BRI). Erickson explains that BRI has assembled a team of landscape architecture, planning, engineering and environmental professionals to develop the plan, which will result in “an exciting new blueprint for the future of our community’s beloved park.”

The next step in the master site planning process, says Erickson, is to hold virtual and, possibly later this year, in-person community input sessions. “I hope we receive a big response. The Civic Center is a regional gem, and we need our community to weigh in.”

Stay up to date throughout the planning process by visiting