Traverse City’s West Front Street district has already begun a positive transformation with the recent streetscape project. This, along with the planned rebuild of the West Front Street Bridge, lays the foundation for a corridor that is viewed differently by residents, visitors and business owners: an area that is not just for passing through on the way in and out of downtown, but is its own hub of business and social activity. Drivers slow down and notice their surroundings, while bikers, walkers and other active users are feeling more welcomed. Further positive change will require concerted partnership between the public and private sectors to fill in underutilized properties with more productive uses and embrace the potential of the Boardman River, Kids Creek and surrounding public spaces.

The League, to assist the community in achieving this change, facilitated a process to prioritize further placemaking activities on the West Front Street corridor from Hall Street to Division Street. Our report, which uses as its foundation the 2013 Corridors Master Plan and is based on over a year of research, conversation with local stakeholders and hands-on experimentation, focuses on three specific pieces of an interlocking puzzle:

  1. A community-supported design plan for reinvigorating the City-owned property on the north side of Front Street, just west of Oak Street (aka “City Lot”);
  2. A development feasibility study of selected properties along Front Street to demonstrate the potential – and some of the challenges associated with – infill development along the corridor; and
  3. A draft form-based code, which is intended to replace the existing zoning ordinance for this corridor and transform the way development is regulated.

League and City staff jointly identified these three focal points as the most effective use of limited time and resources after careful deliberation. Each of the three was addressed by a different team of expert consultants, with League staff as the overall project manager. The consultant work is included in the report.

In the news!

“Preferred Design” for City Lot UnveiledJan. 13, 2016, Traverse Ticker
Design Process Continues for Traverse City’s City Lot
Jan. 5, 2016, My North
TC Unveils Concept Alternatives for City LotNov. 10, 2015, 9 & 10 News
Designs for West Front’s ‘City Lot’ UnveiledNov. 10, 2015, Traverse Ticker
Community Picnic/Open House at City Lot Park – Sept. 20, 2015, Traverse Ticker
What is “City Lot?” – July 28, 2015, Traverse Ticker
New Northern Michigan Towns will have PlacePlans – Feb. 17, 2015, Northwest Michigan’s Second Wave
Unnoticed Glen in Heart of City gets Attention – Feb. 6, 2015, Traverse City Record-Eagle
7 Michigan Cities get ‘Placemaking’ Assistance to Help Communities Thrive – Feb. 5, 2015, Mlive