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Sara Hardy Humanitarian Awards Presented October 4, 2021

by Colleen Paveglio
Wednesday, September 29, 2021

September 29, 2021 - 

The City of Traverse City’s Human Rights Commission will present the Sara Hardy Humanitarian Award on Monday, October 4, 2021. The celebration will take place at the Governmental Center, 400 Boardman Avenue, at 5:30 pm. in the Lower Level Cafeteria, with the award presentation at 7 pm. in the Commission Chambers.

This year’s recipients of the 26th year award are Ryan Hannon, Outreach Coordinator at Goodwill Industries, and Bill and Michelle White, creators of the nonprofit "5 Loaves, 2 Fish".

Hannon has a long history of working with the homeless population in Traverse City. He has helped establish the 86th District Court's Outreach program in 2007 and has long been an advocate for the homeless. Last year's Humanitarian award winner, Tom Bousamra said, in nominating Hannon, "I have witnessed his passionate advocacy for those experiencing homelessness."

Both Bill and Michelle White spent many hours each week planning, preparing and serving meals to those in the area experiencing food insecurity. While others also helped the Whites, the retired couple set the example of getting to know the recipients and making them feel welcome, according to several of the volunteers who nominated them.

“The Traverse City Human Rights Commission appreciates all of the nominations we received for several different nominees. Our local community is fortunate that many people are working on behalf of human rights,” said Susan Odgers, Traverse City Human Rights Commission Chairperson.

Last year’s recipient, Tom Bousamra, will also be recognized during the presentation. Bousamra is the President of Before, During and After Incarceration (BDAI). He's served as a volunteer Catholic chaplain at the Grand Traverse County jail for the past thirty-four years.  He's a current member of the Family Partnership of Grand Traverse, a Deacon at St. Francis Catholic Church and past chair of the St. Francis Peace and Justice Commission.  Bousamra has helped to prepare those incarcerated for re-entry into our community through Life Skills Classes, Coaching/Mentoring programs, and Family Support Dinners. 

Meeting the criteria of the Sara Hardy Humanitarian Award, this year’s recipients have each made a positive impact on the community.

The Sara Hardy Humanitarian award is given annually in honor of Sara Hardy, a longtime resident, who exemplified the philosophies and ideals of the Human Rights Commission to promote mutual understanding and respect among all people and to discourage discriminatory practices. This award recognizes Hardy’s contributions to the community by honoring an individual who exemplifies the Human Rights Commission’s ideals.

To learn more about the Human Rights Commission visit



Cross Connection Control Survey

by Colleen Paveglio
Tuesday, September 28, 2021

September 28, 2021 - The City of Traverse City has contracted with, CCRA, to complete cross connection inspections in a certain percentage of homes, required by the State of Michigan every few weeks. Please see a sample of the communication sent to homeowners.

Cross Connection Inspection Letter


W. Front Street Bridge Construction

by Colleen Paveglio
Friday, September 17, 2021

September 17, 2021 - 

Through careful planning, the City of Traverse City began major bridgework throughout the City in June 2021. The infrastructure improvements include the bridges on Park Street, S. Cass Street, E. Eighth Street, and W. Front Street.

City staff is coordinating the project with MDOT’s Traverse City TSC and Local Agency Bridge program, the City’s municipal utilities and public services, DDA, State and Federal agencies, property owners, and water recreation businesses. The projects are being funded by the MDOT Local Bridge Fund ($5.2 Million), City Funds ($361,000), City Municipal Utility Funds ($680,000), and DDA TIF Funds ($681,000).  The rehabilitation of the Park Street, S. Cass Street, and E. Eighth Street bridges were bundled as one package to provide more competitive pricing from contractors that specialize in this type of infrastructure projects. The reconstruction of the W. Front Street Bridge was bid separately.

“As we embark on the fourth bridge project this season, three rehabilitations and one reconstruction, it is important to recognize that these projects are critical to maintaining the City’s major infrastructure. Developing increased amenities into each of the projects such as pedestrian scale lighting and wider sidewalks will make the projects even more attractive for multi-modal transportation methods. We are aware of the inconvenience, but ask the public to please recognize that these infrastructure improvements will serve the community well for decades to come” says City Manager, Martin Colburn. “In addition, staff has worked diligently to prepare for the rehabilitation of the three projects and the reconstruction of the W. Front Street bridge, and bundling the bridges together from a construction standpoint, has provided a project large enough to attract bridge contractors to bid our project and allows us to complete the work in the shortest amount of time possible,” says City Engineer Tim Lodge.

W. Front Street Bridge

Beginning September 17, 2021, site preparation will begin for the W. Front Street Bridge. The bridge will close to all traffic beginning September 27, 2021.  The project will include bridge removal and replacement and an extension of a watermain. Vehicular parking will be maintained along the bridge on the north and south sides. Amenities will include expansion of the sidewalk from the existing 7.5’ width to 11’-17’ in width with a traditional streetscape that includes pedestrian scale lighting and street trees. Aesthetic treatments on the end walls and a fascia to resemble an arch will also be incorporated.  Vehicular traffic detour signage will be placed in the area. The pedestrian detour will utilize the pedestrian bridge over the Boardman River at Pine Street, to Garland Street, and Hall Street. The W. Front Street Bridge project will be closed throughout the winter and is anticipated to be completed in June 2022.

Park Street Bridge

On June 2, 2021, site preparation began for the Park Street Bridge. The bridge opened to pedestrian and vehicular traffic on Thursday, September 2, 2021. Short term closures are expected to finalize minor items on the bridge. The project included the construction of new bridge deck and an increased sidewalk width to 9.5’ from the existing width of 6’ – 4 ½”. Pedestrian scale lighting and traditional streetscape were also included in the project.

S. Cass Street Bridge

The S. Cass Street Bridge construction began on June 14, 2021. The project includes bridge removal and replacement.  Amenities include a decorative pedestrian railing and traditional streetscape. An effort to maintain the historic character of the original bridge through the rehabilitation to remove the wood sidewalk and railing will be made.  The S. Cass Street Bridge project is anticipated to be completed in November 2021.

E. Eighth Street Bridge

The E. Eighth Street Bridge construction began on July 26, 2021. The project includes the replacement of the bridge deck and extension of a watermain transmission line. Additional amenities incorporated into the project include the extension of the cycle track to connect with the existing bike lanes, increased width of the sidewalk, decorative railings, and an aesthetic double arch fascia. The sidewalk under the bridge will be elevated and lighting will be installed. The E. Eighth Street Bridge project is anticipated to be completed in November 2021.

The construction will generate dust and noise. Traffic delays are expected. Vehicular and pedestrian traffic is asked to follow the detour signage.. The Boardman River will continue to be closed to traffic during the weekdays and open on the weekends as much as possible. Businesses in the affected areas will remain open and will easily be accessed by utilizing the pedestrian detours.

To learn more about upcoming bridgework and view project updates and detour information, visit


City Launches "Future Voter" Sticker Design Contest

by Colleen Paveglio
Wednesday, September 15, 2021

September 15, 2021 - The City of Traverse City is excited to launch a creative challenge by seeking designs for its “Future Voter” stickers. In 2020, the City Clerk’s Office launched an “I Voted” sticker design contest with over 1,300 voters participating in voting for the winning design.  

The “Future Voter” contest is open to K-12 students in Grand Traverse, Leelanau, Benzie, Antrim, or Kalkaska counties. Students may provide more than one submission and collaborations are welcome. The winning design will be printed as stickers and distributed to future voters on Election Day.

 K-12 students are invited to submit designs for the “Future Voter” sticker design contest beginning September 15, 2021 through September 29, 2021. Once the application process closes, a panel of judges will review the select six finalists. A public vote to select the winners of the six finalists will run October 3 - 10, 2021.  The three designs with the top number of votes will win $100 each and be announced at the October 11, 2021 City Commission Meeting.

“The ‘I Voted’ sticker design contest in 2020 was a big success. Traverse City voters continue to proudly display that they exercised their voting rights. Instilling the importance of exercising your right to vote within our youth through this new, Future Voter Sticker Design Contest, will build lifelong citizens that participate in democracy and celebrate civic pride,” says Benjamin Marentette, City Clerk.

Interested students can go online for the complete contest application, participation criteria and details at the link HERE.

Those with further questions can call (231) 922-4480. All contest entries must be received by the Traverse City City Clerk’s office no later than 4 p.m., September 29, 2021.