Rotary Charities Grants $1M for Coal Properties Purchase

Rotary Charities Grants $1 Million for Coal Properties Purchase

TCL&P property to be considered for new community space


TRAVERSE CITY, MI- The Rotary Club of Traverse City announced that an offer has been made to acquire the former coal properties on West Bay from Traverse City Light and Power (TCL&P) for public use and community benefit. The Club’s foundation, Rotary Charities of Traverse City, will fund the purchase with a $1,000,000 grant. The properties will be transferred to Rotary Camps & Services, the Club’s land-holding arm. “The initial focus for the property will be the conversion of the former coal dock to another open space for the community with universal access to West Bay,” says Rotary Camps & Services Chairperson, John Hall.

As the current owner of the neighboring property, Rotary Camps & Services will place use restrictions on the coal properties that will ensure public access and extend the mission of the Discovery Center ~ Great Lakes: securing a permanent home for tall ships, maritime history education, recreation, and freshwater education. The project is in keeping with Elmwood Township’s vision for the recently approved marina district, including extending public access to the waterfront, updating existing docks and preserving the deep-water port. 

“We are happy to have a community discussion about the future of this valuable city asset,” said Timothy Arends, Executive Director of TCL&P. “This seems like a promising opportunity to create more space for the public to enjoy along our waterfront.” 

After seven years of working to ensure this unique asset remains available for community use and benefit, we’re thrilled to finally see it happening” says Rotary Charities Chairperson, Gregg Smith. “By opening the property to the public for the first time in many years, a formerly industrial property has the potential to become an integral part of an increasingly vibrant and public waterfront.” 

The property transaction is subject to approval by the TCL&P Board and City Commission, which will consider the transaction at a special joint study session on September 28.

Satellite photo taken May 15, 2015. Courtesy of Google Earth.

Rotary Charities has assets of over $48 million, which has allowed it to invest over $54 million in over 1,100 grants to the five-county Grand Traverse region since 1977, including over $1.5 million to the City of Traverse City. Other $1 million grants made by Rotary Charities include NMC’s University Center (1994), the State Theatre Project (1997), and the Great Lakes Water Studies Institute (2004). 

In addition to the Discovery Center, Rotary Camps & Services owns over 1,700 acres in Grand Traverse County, which includes Camp Greilick, the regional Boy Scout camp, and Camp Sakakawea, the regional Girl Scouts camp. It also owns East Creek Reserve in Garfield Township, where a network of public trails is being developed. Camps & Services has also served as an incubator for organizations, such as the Grand Traverse Regional Land Conservancy, the Grand Traverse Regional Community Foundation, HomeStretch and NorthSky Nonprofit Network. 

Traverse City Light & Power is a community-owned, community focused municipal utility that offers reliable energy at low cost rates in the region to over 12,500 customers in Traverse City, and parts of Blair, East Bay, Elmwood, Garfield, Peninsula and Paradise townships.


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