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Voters Won't Pay for Sprawl

Leelanau County rejects sprawl costs

December 1, 1997 | By Hans Voss
Great Lakes Bulletin News Service

Leelanau County voters last November sent a strong anti-sprawl message to their elected officials, soundly defeating a proposal to move the county courthouse from the village of Leland and build a new government center on a 25-acre field three miles away.

With the help of Leland business owners, led by restaurateur Skip Telgard, the Institute prepared a local newspaper advertisement and poster to let residents know about the high economic and social costs of the proposed new government center:

The new complex would cost $13 million, more than three times the price of renovating the existing courthouse in downtown Leland for $3.9 million.
The courthouse now contributes to a year-round downtown economy in Leland.
Leelanau County has already paid for a sound plan to renovate the existing courthouse that is cost- effective, architecturally distinguished, and will save money and defuse sprawl.

"Business owners in Leland who want the courthouse to stay here intend to keep an eye on the issue and go to the meetings of the County Board of Commissioners," said Mr. Telgard. "We want to be a part of the process and to make sure our voices are heard."


Learning from the Past Preserve Historic Sleeping Bear

The Institute has joined with local citizens to launch a new campaign to protect the cultural landscape of the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, located in the northwest corner of Lower Michigan. The project, Preserve Historic Sleeping Bear, focuses on the Park's 19th-century farmsteads, cottages, and cabins that make up the most impressive collection of publicly-owned historic resources in the Midwest.

This legacy is in trouble, however, because the Park does not have enough money to maintain the buildings. Preserve Historic Sleeping Bear is building grassroots support for historic preservation, working with the Park Service to establish a realistic management plan, advocating for more funding from the federal government, and seeking additional support from businesses, foundations, and citizens.


CONTACT: Preserve Historic Sleeping Bear, c/o the Michigan Land Use Institute, P.O. Box 228, Benzonia, MI 49616, Tel. 616-882-4723, E-mail <phsb@mlui.org>.


Residents Rally to Save Traverse City Landmark

A group of Traverse City residents has formed a new grassroots organization, the Committee to Preserve Building 50, to challenge a proposal to tear down the 300,000 square foot Victorian-era building on the 480- acre wooded grounds of the former state mental hospital in the heart of the city.

Last June the Grand Traverse Commons Redevelopment Board, chartered by Traverse City and Garfield Township in 1991 to preserve Building 50 and other historically significant buildings on the grounds, decided to formally consider a developer's proposal to demolish Building 50 and replace it with a building of "similar architectural features" for use as senior housing.

In September nine architects, engineers, and builders from Traverse City told the board that the building was structurally sound and could be redeveloped. "Building 50 and the entire Grand Traverse Commons are essential to our community and too important to lose," said Janese Horton, chairwoman of the Committee to Preserve Building 50. "New vision and new ideas are emerging."

The Committee is planning a series of public meetings to attract citizen interest, and to gain support from local government to hold official public hearings. "It's been about ten years since the community has been called on to provide input on the Commons redevelopment,” said member Brian Upton.


CONTACT: Janese Horton, Committee to Preserve Building 50, P.O. Box 4653, Traverse City, MI 49685, Tel. 616-941-0850.

Michigan Land Use Institute

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