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home : columnists and contributors : columnists and contributors September 15, 2014

7/24/2013 10:09:00 AM
Letter: Waterfront rumor control

To the Editor:

I was informed this morning that there is a rumor in town: "they had heard the Mayor wanted to add shops and potential parking on the waterfront."

I would like to clarify what I am trying to do at the waterfront. I am not doing this alone. Many organized groups and interested individuals are working toward a similar goal.

It is my opinion that the tennis courts at the waterfront should be removed. I believe that the property on which they sit is far too valuable to be reserved for the use of at most 8 people at any given time. The City has been monitoring the use of the courts and has found that they are vacant more than half of the day. I think it is wrong to fence out most of the people in our town from some of the most precious waterfront property in this town.

The proposal I made a month ago was to remove the courts and replace them with lawn while we decide what the new configuration of that space will be. I think it would be easier for all of us to get a feel for what that property could become if it was a grassy place with a few more picnic tables and benches in place. Remove the pavement and and fences. I believe that if we observed the use of the open grassy space for a year or so we would learn from the community how they want to use that space and we could develop a plan that accommodates that use. I believe this approach would be better than going through a process where special interest groups wrestle over a plan that will ultimately mandate how that space is used.

Official discussions today lean toward replacing the two courts someplace else in town and relocating some of the parking on the waterfront to create more park space. The harbor master building may be replaced and relocated so it doesn't sit on the very best place to view the harbor from the marina area. I think it should have a shape that obstructs the harbor view a little as possible. There has been some discussion of building an open structure, like a gazebo, somewhere on the site. My personal preference would be to minimize the visual obstructions of the harbor, to build only what we need. I certainly don't want more buildings and more parking south of Bay Street.

My goal is to make the waterfront more open to more people, greener, and to get rid of the fences and some parking on that most precious piece of property. Gardens, landscaping, get closer to the water.

I hate rumors, and have no respect for those that start them. If you hear a story about the waterfront or any other City or Mayor action that bothers you, please send a note to me at mayor@cityofharborsprings.com. I'm pretty good at answering e-mails that aren't hostile.

Respectfully,

Al Dika,

Mayor



Related Stories:
• Letter: Agree with mayor on waterfront improvements


First Community Bank - Sept. 2014


Reader Comments

Posted: Wednesday, July 31, 2013
Article comment by: Michael Hinterman

Not all folks who desire recreation are boaters. If this is all about the value of the real estate, then picnic tables, a gazebo and green space is not the best use, any more than a public restroom for boaters and all of us, harbormaster office and tennis courts. There is hardly a need for more restaurants in the area, at least not after the first few days in September. The harbor and the views are beautiful.

Posted: Tuesday, July 30, 2013
Article comment by: Deborah Kilborn

Not sure who would be listening to such rumors, given the history of Harbor Springs and preserving it's charm and beauty as much as possible. I do agree with our mayor's proposal.....as little as possible. That view is just too precious to mess with....and it belongs to everyone!!



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