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Articles from December 2016 (Return to News home)
by Katy McBenge
Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Subject:          Traverse City Commits to 100 Percent Clean Energy by 2020

Primary:         Kate Madigan, 231-633-5353          

Secondary:     Jim Carruthers, Mayor                                 Tim Werner, Commissioner
                        231-922-7768                                                   231-313-6903

                        Benjamin Marentette, City Clerk               

Issued:             December 21, 2016

Traverse City, on Monday, pledged to power itself entirely with renewable power in just four years, adding significant momentum to a growing list of cities leading the transition to clean energy with 100 percent goals.

The resolution unanimously adopted by the Traverse City Commission sets a goal to meet all electricity needs for city operations with renewable sources by 2020. City operations include things like city buildings, streetlights, traffic signals and water treatment facilities and make up 3 to 4 percent of total electricity use in the Traverse City area.  The resolution defines renewable energy as wind, solar, geothermal and landfill gas.

"Renewable energy is the right direction for our city. It creates jobs, reduces pollution, and will help keep energy prices low,” said Traverse City Mayor Jim Carruthers. "Traverse City is nationally known for being a great place to live and visit because of our thriving downtown and our amazing natural resources. Setting forward-looking renewable energy goals matches with our reputation as a leading green city in Michigan and in the nation.”

Traverse City joins two other Michigan communities with similar targets: Grand Rapids has a goal to use 100 percent renewable energy by 2025, and the Village of Northport finalized a plan this year to go fully renewable. If it accomplishes its goal by 2020, Traverse City will be the first city in the state to reach 100 percent renewable electricity for city operations. Nationally, about 20 communities have set all-renewable goals, and three have already hit the mark.

“This is a huge step forward for our city, and one that I hope will inspire other communities across Michigan to embrace 100 percent clean energy goals as a positive response to climate change and as a way to bring local benefits to their community,” said Kate Madigan, a Traverse City resident, energy specialist for the Michigan Environmental Council and director of the Michigan Climate Action Network (MICAN). “I’m proud to be part of this community, and I can’t thank Mayor Carruthers, and the rest of the City Commission enough for providing such strong leadership.”

The Traverse City announcement is also a big win for MICAN’s new 100% Renewable Cities campaign to swell the ranks of Michigan communities officially committed to—and actively pursuing—a target of 100 percent clean energy by midcentury.  MICAN’s broader vision is for all of Michigan to be powered entirely by renewables by 2050. A growing body of research shows that shifting to 100 percent renewable energy is feasible and will produce many benefits, including stabilizing the climate, creating jobs, boosting economic growth, keeping energy rates lower over time, and reducing pollution—which would save lives, improve health, and reduce health care costs.

Traverse City and its municipal utility, Traverse City Light and Power (TCLP), have a history of leading on renewable energy. TCLP installed the state’s first utility-scale wind turbine in 1996 and first community solar garden in 2013. Renewable energy has broad community support, and surveys show that most area residents support more renewable energy and would be willing to pay more for it if necessary.

The idea for a 100 percent renewable energy goal was brought to the city by a group of community members and organizations, including Citizens Climate Lobby, Groundwork Center for Resilient Communities, Michigan Environmental Council, MICAN, Michigan League of Conservation Voters, NMEAC, SEEDS, and TC350.

“Transitioning to 100 percent clean energy is going to create jobs and make for a more durable local economy that’s protected from future spikes in energy prices,” said Dan Worth, clean energy policy specialist for the Traverse City-based Groundwork Center for Resilient Communities. “With a president-elect who claimed climate change is a hoax and a Congress that has been slow to embrace a clean energy economy, real change is going to have to start at the local level. It’s wonderful to see Traverse City stepping up and setting a great example for other communities.”

This resolution also sets a goal of launching two clean energy or other greenhouse gas-reduction projects annually, and calls for the creation of a “Green Team” to advise city officials on sustainability efforts and craft a plan for Traverse City to become carbon neutral by midcentury. Several states, cities, and universities are now beginning to develop plans and set goals to become fully carbon neutral by midcentury, which is what scientists agree is necessary to avoid the worst consequences of climate change and sustain a livable planet.

“Traverse City is leading by example by passing this resolution,” said City Commissioner Tim Werner, who also is a board member of TCLP. “We are focusing first on getting enough renewable energy to provide the electricity we are responsible for. By doing so, we hope to inspire the community as a whole to embrace more renewable energy.”



by Katy McBenge
Friday, December 16, 2016


Subject:                        Hickory Hills Open for Skiing
Primary Contact:         Derek Melville, Parks and Recreation Superintendent
                         ; 231-922-4900
Issued:                         December 15, 2016

 Hickory Hills Ski Area, owned and operated by the City of Traverse City, will open to the public for downhill and cross-country skiing under the lights beginning Friday, December 16 at 4:00 p.m. There will be at least 3 runs open to start the season. Hickory celebrates its 65th season of continuous operation this year. More than 30,000 area residents have learned to ski on Hickory’s slopes.

 The ski area is open Monday through Friday, 4-8:30 p.m., Saturday 11 a.m. through 8:30 p.m. and Sundays 11 a.m. through 5 p.m. Daily and season passes are available. Reduced rates are offered for City residents. Additional discounts are available for City-resident children who qualify for the TCAPS free/reduced school lunch program.

 Season passes can be purchased at the Treasurer’s Office within the Governmental Center or also on-site at the Hickory Hills Lodge. 

 The ski area hosts eight downhill runs for beginning to advanced skiers and boarders. The lodge will feature a new concession menu this season. Formal efforts have been underway since 2012 to protect the City’s hill, including the development of a Long Range Master Plan ensuring the viability of the City park and its continued recreation for future generations. For more information about the planning process and current rates, please visit:  or 

To check current Ski Conditions, please visit:  


by Katy McBenge
Friday, December 16, 2016


Subject:                        Keeping Sidewalks Accessible for Everyone
Primary Contact:         Benjamin Marentette, City Clerk
Issued:                          December 14, 2016



With winter’s arrival, the City of Traverse City reminds residents and business owners that they are responsible for the removal of any snow and ice that accumulates on the sidewalks immediately adjacent to their property.  City officials are also encouraging residents to help their neighbors and relatives who have difficulty removing snow from their sidewalks.

 “Almost all of us travel by foot for a portion of our daily trips,” said City Clerk Benjamin Marentette.  “As a community, particularly when we have a traditional Northern Michigan winter, we need to work together to keep those sidewalks and crosswalks clear to help us all get around.”

 The City reminds everyone that many people rely on walking and transit as their primary way to access jobs, services, and businesses.  Without clear paths through snow and ice, it is especially difficult for people with disabilities, the elderly, and children to walk safely.

 In addition, uncleared pathways make it difficult for firefighters and paramedics in cases of emergency. “Having clear sidewalks and pathways when emergency personnel, such as Fire Fighters and Police Officers, are responding, makes a huge difference when each moment is precious,” said Marentette.

 The City’s Department of Public Services is committed to clearing sidewalks after major snow events, with priorities being primary corridors and sidewalks near schools.  However, during prolonged snowfalls, sidewalks may not be cleared for several days and there are portions of the sidewalk network that are not cleared by DPS.   “When residents promptly clear snow and ice, they play a critical part in keeping Traverse City moving,” said Marentette.

 New in 2014, the City released a public service announcement as a reminder to everyone to keep their sidewalks clear.  This PSA is available in both video and audio form.  In addition, some residents or businesses may find a door hanger on their door this year as a reminder to keep sidewalks clear.  The door hanger emphasizes the importance of sidewalk snow removal and safe winter travel.

 Residents who would like to report a problem related to the enforcement of the City’s snow removal ordinance, are encouraged to call Code Enforcement Officer Mike Trombley, 922-4414 or visit the City of Traverse City website at

 High definition video available upon request; for delivery or upload, please email Mayor Pro Tem Gary Howe:



by Katy McBenge
Monday, December 5, 2016

Contact: Human Resources 922-4481,

The Traverse City Human Rights Commission is accepting nominations for its annual Sara Hardy Humanitarian Award. Sara Hardy was instrumental in establishing the Human Rights Commission more than 30 years ago. This award recognizes her contributions to the community by honoring an individual who exemplifies the ideals of the Commission. These ideals are to promote mutual understanding and respect among all people and to discourage discriminatory practices. Recent recipients of the Award include Marian Kromkowski, Glenna and Ken Andrews, Jim Rowlett, Brian Simerson, Eugene Fox, Susan Odgers, Joe Lada, Helen Cook, Gladys Muñoz and Jane Hayes. To nominate someone you believe represents these ideals, please submit a letter to include the nominee’s name, address, telephone number and humanitarian activities they are involved in along with the reasons why you are nominating this individual. The nominator should include their name and phone number in the letter as well.
The nomination deadline is Tuesday, January 3, 2017. Please send nominations to the Traverse City Human Rights Commission, 400 Boardman Avenue, Traverse City, Michigan 49684 or fax to the Human Rights Commission at 231-922-4470.
Nominators may be invited to present their nominations in person to the Human Rights Commission. The recipient of the award will be honored at the Governmental Center on a date to be determined. The reception will precede the presentation of the award at the Traverse City Commission meeting that evening. For more information, please email Human Resources at We look forward to receiving your nomination.

Nomination Form

by Katy McBenge
Friday, December 2, 2016

When: December 13, 2016 from 4:00-6:30 pm

Where: Traverse City Governmental Center - 2nd Floor Training Room

Local Stakeholders are invited to the first in a series of three public meetings to provide input to help shape the future of stormwater management and water quality protection in the City of Traverse City. This first meeting will be an Open House with stations where attendees will learn about the impacts of stormwater on our local waters, as well as some of the things the City and the Watershed Center are doing to protect water quality and public health. Additionally, an interactive station will allow participants to identify problem areas and their personal vision for water quality protection in the City. 

Key themes will include:
- Is water quality important to you?
- What do we do now for water quality?
- What is the SAW Grant?
- What's next? 


by John Travis
Friday, December 2, 2016

December 02, 2016



Contact:  Mark Jones, City of Traverse City, Streets Department Superintendent, (231) 922-4900


City of Traverse City

Fall Leaf Pickup Program Completed

Friday, November 18, 2016 was the last day for residents of the City of Traverse City to place leaves in the street for the leaf pickup program.  City Streets employees have made the final pass through the city for picking up leaves.  The Streets Department has been following up the leaf pickup with street sweepers, cleaning the gutters and catch basin grates to help prevent more leaf debris from entering the storm water system, and making the upcoming snow removal more efficient.


Any leaves placed in the street will subject the property owner to possible fines issued by the Code Enforcement Officer.

If you have any questions please contact Mark Jones at the number noted above.