BY BENJAMIN J. GOHS, NEWS EDITOR
Community ideas about the future of Boyne City’s waterfront have been turned into concepts which could eventually become reality.
Since late spring, city officials, community members and design experts have been in discussions on a major planning process—dubbed “Boyne on the Water”—that involves Peninsula Park, Veterans Park, Sunset Park and the 475 North Lake St. property, which were green-lighted for PlacePlans project help back in January.
“Boyne City was one of the communities selected through a competitive process … partially because you have such great teamwork here in Boyne between the various actors: the chamber, the school system, the city, the business community, the nonprofits, etc.,” said Luke Forest of the Michigan Municipal League, who opened the Tuesday Sept. 15 meeting at Boyne City High School. “We’re really impressed with that and we continue to be impressed.”
Forest said the latest concepts are not final, and that there is still a little time for people to share input on this project.
“We’re going to take in ideas over the next three weeks or so … so it’s really important to pay attention to this and tell your neighbors and friends and colleagues, if they care about this what’s in the final report, the next three weeks are really a crucial time to get those in,” Forest said.
After Oct. 6, the ideas will be further revised and a final presentation will be delivered on Nov. 17.
“Then, there will be a much longer final report with a lot of implementation suggestions, how to fund this, how to make it happen, that we’ll be delivering late in the year/around the new year,” Forest said.
Associate Professor of Landscape Architecture at Michigan State University Warren Rauhe, who headed the Michigan State University Design Team working on this project, presented the Boyne waterfront concepts.
“As Luke said, this is not final,” said Rauhe, who urged all community members to opine on the future of Boyne’s waterfront.
Rauhe gave an overall schematic look at the plan in addition to going over the individual possibilities of each park in the plan.
Public comments gathered in this process include desire for support facilities, year-round family activities, sustainable design practices and one that Rauhe said was most prominent.
“There was one comment that was repeated over and over and over again,” said Rauhe… “It was, very simply, ‘views, views, views.’”
Rauhe said that emphasis on open space and views of Lake Charlevoix were implemented in the latest waterfront concepts.
Peninsula Beach – Rauhe said there are three or four major elements at Peninsula Beach. He proposed an open free play area for kids to play or for an area to hold events. It also has pretty much unrestricted views to the water. Sitting areas for events for different groups adjacent to the parking lot would also be included.
A common denominator through all four of the plans is that the designs are not corralled into the center of each park but laid out in a more open design scheme with any potential structures laid out on the edges of the properties.
A boardwalk and interpretive education center could be used to “naturalize” the area.
Rauhe said a more neighborhood-oriented beach would be right for Peninsula, while a more community-wide and much larger beach would be right for the 475 North Lake St. property.
“You have an opportunity, as you move forward in the community, to look at these plans … in alternative different ways,” said Rauhe, who added that these were merely examples of ideas at this point.
Areas for basketball, volleyball, a splash pad, a gazebo, open lawn, sitting areas, and a promenade were also proposed for Peninsula Beach.
Sunset Park – Major elements of this park include maintaining its waterfront view, potential for the bridge over the Boyne River to become something very special with lrge ornate railing upgrades, an area that could feature street musicians or a town crier, a sitting area adjacent to a restroom facility, and a kayak launching facility that could be designed for the physically challenged as well as fully-abled users. Improved circulation is also key.
Rauhe reminded attendees that a greater level of detail will be needed once the final concepts are presented.
Veterans Park – A walkway system would continue through the park and along the water. No changes were proposed to the ball-field. Significant changes include the suggestion to remove the current playground and build a smaller one adjacent to the pavilion. Also, an expansion and enhancement of the veterans memorial seemed to be a popular idea.
A large green area for mega events would be retained, parking would be improved and more space would be allotted for the Boyne City Farmers Market.
“Each one of the parks needs to be different in a very classic way,” said Rauhe.
475 North Lake St. property – Major elements could include a bathing beach, natural parking lot watershed, boardwalk, shaded lawn space, a children’s playground, warming plaza with outdoor fireplace, a pedestrian promenade and additional parking.
A splash pad, volleyball courts and watershed or rain garden area were also suggested.
Rauhe also said it is very important to keep the character of the park in line with the scale, materials and context of what Boyne City is.
The approximately 60 people who attended last week’s session then broke into groups to discuss the proposed concepts further. Their input will be considered in the final presentation.
“We’re also putting together a much more detailed report that will be delivered along with the final designs later on this year,” said Forest.
“And, I just wanted to give you a sneak preview of some of the ideas so that you can start thinking about how to make these things happen, because our purpose of being here is not to just capture some ideas and then go on our merry way and none of them ever happen.”
He added, “We want there to be momentum behind these and we want some forethought about how you get these things done.”
But, Forest said, those full details were only being released to the steering committee at this time.
The Boyne on the Water planning sessions, which is part of the statewide PlacePlans community planning initiative, is funded by the MiPlace program that was instituted by Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder.
A survey concerning the Boyne on the Water planning process is online at https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/boyne