Home > Announcement, Parks and Recreation > Neighborhood Dreams Of An Improved Park: What Can We Do Today?

Neighborhood Dreams Of An Improved Park: What Can We Do Today?

Clancy Park

(Click for larger view)

Last spring the Traverse City parks and Recreation department listened to a presentation by two mothers from  what I’ll call, Orchard Hills/Sheridan St. Orchard Heights neighborhood at the base of Old Mission peninsula. Without an official neighborhood association, they were able to organize a group of neighbors and explore how to improve the quality of life in their ‘hood. They took a survey, they held meetings, they organized.

The result was a focus on traffic calming and an update to Clancy Park. Since most of their traffic concerns are cut-throughs along Sheridan Rd. next to the park, a park improvement may actually help slow traffic that is racing between the stops signs between Eastern Ave. and Center Rd. (Think 17 year old boys leaving school.)

To start, parks and recreation suggested that they meet with the planning department to develop a conceptual plan for the park. The result of that on-site discussion was the above plan.

Currently, the park is an open field on some very wetland. The result is that ruts develop and a lot of the park sits there basically to give the City something to mow. The playground equipment is out of date and falling apart. The plan, as you can see, improves the character of the park by creating more reasons to visit and for more age-groups. Key features from the plan: walkways, benches, sidewalks along the edges, the pavilion as a meeting place, improved playground equipment and natural playscape area.

It’s been a year. It’s time to move forward on this work. Tonight at the parks and recreation meeting Clancy Park is on the agenda for a basic update and for us to discuss the opportunities for what can be done this year. The park didn’t make the capital improvement budget, which is put together by city staff, but a lot of the base work needn’t take a lot of money and could be done through a TC•DIY work party by citizens.

If you’re interested, come see us at the meeting tonight. We meet on the 2nd floor of the Governmental Center at 6:30.

You can view or download tonight’s agenda below, but here is a quick view:


  • The Grand Traverse Area Veterans Coalition regarding phase two of the Veteran’s Memorial
  • Recreation Concession Proposal for Hickory Hills


  • Bayfront Implementation Action Steps  & other Bayfront Discussion
  • Verbal report on Park Use Policy revision
  • Verbal update on Grand Traverse Stewardship Initiative projects at Hannah Park
  • Discussion of Draft City Commission Naming Policy
  • Update on Clancy Park proposed park modifications


  • Request from City Manager Bifoss to create an ad hoc committee to work with City Staff on the Bayfront Revitalization process
  • Timeline of 2011 – 2012 General Fund Budget preparation
  • Discussion of Earth Day Beach / Park Clean-up
  • Report and Discussion on NEA Hickory Hills Workshop Grant Request – Nate Elkins
  1. Citizen
    March 8, 2011 at 1:45 pm

    At the meeting all the city staff offered to do was remove the old rusty backstop, cut down trees, and worry about liability if the neighbors wanted to do any work themselves. This park is included in the Parks and Recreation Plan, in the draft for the new city master plan and on the Capital Improvements budget for 2012. Let’s hope the city staff don’t decide to take all the funds away and actually look for some money to do these improvements. This is a great neighboorhood park close to schools and with easy access for users. It just needs a little TLC from the City.

  2. Bill Faulk
    March 12, 2011 at 2:10 am

    It is Orchard Heights also Sheridan Rd. not Sheridan St.
    It is not mainly 17 year old boys, try young mothers rushing their kids to school late at Eastern Elementary. I have lived here 40 years think I know what I am talking about. I tried many years ago to get a stop sign at Sheridan and Manor, I was told stop signs are not to control speed and there were not enough warrants, (accidents) guess we wait until a child is killed.

  3. March 12, 2011 at 9:21 am

    Thank you for the correction. An oversight. I used to live in the neighborhood and used to visit Clancy frequently. It was odd to see such a large park with no one in it. It could be a great commons space.

    Slowing the traffic on Sheridan Rd. will be difficult due to the suburban character of the neighborhood. The homes are all set way back from the road, there are no sidewalks and there is very little activity along the street. People use their backyards instead of the front yards or the park. Still, if the road is ever up for reconstruction, citizens need to be ready to influence the design and traffic calming measures explored. It seems like a good place to try chicanes, traffic circles and edge treatments around the intersections and park. It could also be narrowed by 4 ft from 22 to 18 and ideally this would be done in the current footprint with paint, without reconstruction. They painted last year and in great brillance painted the legal definition of the road, despite it being torn up at the edges. Result, they painted on dirt.

    I know the first impulse is stop signs, but they have lots of drawbacks that often make the situation worse, including an increase in noise as cars rev up, brake and rev up again as they race to the next intersection.

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