Home > Announcement, Design the Details, Economics > Open discussion: Acme’s Village at Grand Traverse

Open discussion: Acme’s Village at Grand Traverse


Who has the skinny on Acme Township’s Village at Grant Traverse Meijer project?

Any projections on the impact to the region? What is there to love about the project? Why is the central park stuffed into a forgotten corner?  Apparently, there have been easements granted for multi-use trails to and through the project, but “not funded in current phase“–Why not?  When?

I invite you, in particular Acme residents, to comment here or send a message. The Acme Township Board meets tonight (REagle) to possibly make the final decision in what has been a long, contentious process.

What do you think the Acme board needs to hear? 

Conceptual plan and other documents online here.




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  1. JohnRobertWilliams
    February 22, 2012 at 8:24 am

    Acme Township has effectively blocked the TART Trail connection along the railroad grade for 20 years. Rotary Charities paid over $30,000 for grading the steepest slope to make the trail a possibility in 1993. Still no trail. Townships AGAIN and AGAIN prove that they are no longer a viable form of government. Look at the residents on the front of the R-E today….you things are bad when people get happy because the GT Band helped pay for re-paving the road….where are the townships in this? Simple, they took the money….they do not maintain the roads…show me one township with a road plow….Townships TAKE, they do not PROVIDE. That’s NOT government…that’s CRIME. And Michigan LEGALIZES it.

  2. February 22, 2012 at 8:53 am

    I think Acme has given a lot of thought to this project, but needs to be reminded that this is a huge opportunity to build something their really lacking in that corridor – a sense of place, community.

  3. February 22, 2012 at 8:54 am

    Ugh, they’re not their – sleep deprived!

  4. Richard Miller
    February 22, 2012 at 9:16 am

    Oh my, no matter how they’re arranged about the site the buildings (businesses) are just isolated events scattered in a vast, empty, sterile sea of car spaces: a ridiculous parody of a real village!

  5. February 22, 2012 at 10:18 am

    There are any number of reasons to not favor the township form of government in Michigan, but I don’t think that it’s fair to attack Acme in terms of what’s happened with Holiday Road. And I write this as a former lawyer for Acme township and somebody who worked on the Holiday Road issue.

    First of all, Michigan townships generally have limited legal ability to deal with roads, that power is almost exclusively given to the county. Second of all, to the extent that townships are given the ability to improve roads, there are procedural hurdles. In the case of Holiday Road, the primary hurdle was that the law only provides for assessing those immediately fronting the road for improvements made to the road. This would have meant socking the Holiday Road frontage owners with huge assessments to improve a road used by 100’s of other families. Acme (and East Bay) tried to get traction in Lansing to change that part of the law in order to spread the assessments for road improvements over all of those property owners who would have benefitted from the road improvements, but the leg evidently wasn’t interested because that attempt to change the law went nowhere. There was also the attempt (or attempts?) at a milleage by Acme and East Bay to improve roads, but that failed.

    So while there are plenty of fair criticisms with township form of governance in MIchigan, I don’t think that the Holiday Road issue necessarily exemplifies one of them. Personally, I think the primary problem with the township form of governance is in regard to zoning and planning, in that it is done on a scale that most families don’t live by any longer. This is exemplified by the VGT project. Clearly VGT is a regional development whose effects on transportaton and land use reach far beyond the borders of Acme township. I’m guessing that Meijer is counting on drawing, for example, a fair number of shoppers from as far away as Elk Rapids and Kalkaska. Because, however, the power to zone and plan in Michigan has primarily been given to the townships instead of a larger entity (such as a county, or a regional entity that combined TC and the urbanized parts of the townships that surround TC), Acme is put in the difficult position of having to decide and legally defend if/how to permit such a regional project. Which I believe is part of why it ended up in litigation for years.

    I’m not saying that regional zoning and planning is a silver bullet and we wouldn’t have VGT’s if it came to pass in Michigan. But at least we would be realistically dealing with the way in which people in the 21st century live in one township, work in another, shop in a third, and their kids go to school in the City. Something along these lines is what people were led to believe would result from the Grand Vision project, where hundreds of people were invited to workshops in order to draw up detailed land use and transportation plans for the GT region. Unfortunately, there is essentially nothing in the Grand Vision that resulted from this process to guide policy on something like VGT, the largest development to have been proposed in the GT region since maybe the buffalo mall, and one that could tremendously impact land use and transportation for a good part of the next 50 years.

  6. Mike Gaines
    February 22, 2012 at 11:18 am

    So much insight in just a half dozen comments here, and Acme Twp has been battling for how long to come up with THIS?!

    Ditto: on Twp. government. What a bungling and expensive waste.

    Richard Miller hit it right on the head, “scattered in a vast, empty, sterile sea of car spaces…” Not one of which is either ‘village-esque’ nor respectful of the damage and difficulties posed to the natural evironment at a ‘community hub’ site on this scale.

    People/consumers will flock to this store once it is completed (they always do), so put the ‘central park’ in the center, design in the pathways and benches, and truly create a village center…

    For a few dollars more…

  7. February 23, 2012 at 4:15 pm

    Of course it’s horrendous. Terrible waste of land, and they could easily fit every last thing (except for the surface parking spaces) in 1/4 of the land their current scheme gobbles up (and clearly drawn by someone from Elmer’s – no offense to Elmer’s). It’s really bewildering how low standards and expectations can be amongst people charged with the stewardship of such a beautiful place.

  8. Raymond Minervini
    February 24, 2012 at 3:23 pm

    The VGT development concept was spawned about 10 years ago. The site design and land use currently approved was conventional by 2002 standards (except for a couple of recently added roundabouts), and the dominant connective features are automobile centric. It seems Acme Twp did what it could do to influence the design, but they had legal limitations to their control. Sadly, VGT is a thoroughly 1990s sprawl/suburban development, a “village” in name only. A regional hypermarket is driving this. It will likely be years before any of the housing is constructed, and if it is, it will be what one would expect within this sprawl context.

    BTW, how does one locate a Village “at” an entire region? Is there a Village at Keweenaw, or a Village at the Thumb Area?

  9. February 26, 2012 at 6:24 pm

    Raymond hit on a key point – this “design” is almost 10 years old, and was approved by lame-duck board that had already been voted out of office for their willingness to accept such a miserable concept. Over the ensuing decade, the circumstances have changed quite a bit:

    – The Phase 1 Meijer store is finally moving forward, but still no earth has been turned (the history here is complex and well documented);
    – Phases 2-6? that would ostensibly include the additional commercial development, public buildings, and housing – but very few people actually believe that the developers are likely to pursue any of this development any time soon, due to changes in the economy and in market tastes for sprawl development;
    – it has been revealed that actually most of the money behind this proposal comes from Cincinnati-based ‘lifestyle mall’ developer J.R. Anderson, who appears to be content to sit and wait for an economic turnaround or a better proposal;
    – Township residents are now more putting more energy and enthusiasm into creating a new town center ‘place’ along the shoreline with their new land acquisitions…

    Unfortunately, no one seems to like the miserable design pictured above – including the developer – but it is still the one that has approval. Now that the Meijer ordeal is coming to an end, there may be an opportunity to engage the developers in a thoughtful discussion about a right-sized, walkable scale development design for the next phases. Let’s hope so.

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