Elmwood Township Marina Starts Upland Renovation

Elmwood Township Marina on Traverse Bay in Lake Michigan will soon launch a complete renovation of its landside facilities. Phase one of the work will include construction of a new harbormaster building with office space, a garage for maintenance equipment and two public restrooms.

“Our current buildings are clean, but they are old brick and block that were built in the 1970s,” said Peter Moon, harbormaster.

Phase two will be a reconfiguration and repaving of the parking lot to help ease the flow of traffic through the marina. “Sometimes we have people backed up for two miles to get in here,” Moon said.

The parking lot, designed decades ago to handle sedans pulling 20-foot boats, has 134 spaces. In the reconfiguration, the number of spaces will be reduced to 78 in order to accommodate today’s larger boats and the big trucks pulling them. The township will provide parking for other vehicles at a lot across the highway from the marina.

Phase one and phase two of the three-phase project will be built concurrently at a total cost of about $2 million. The Michigan Waterways Program has given the marina $950,000 in grant funding, the Great Lakes Fishery Commission will provide another $100,000 for a fish cleaning station. The township will provide matching funds.

“We are breaking ground in the spring and will probably finish that up mid-summer,” Moon said. “We will have our current offices functioning with as little interruption to the public as possible.” That could be difficult, since the marina is very busy, with 176 boat slips, 32 moorings and a deep harbor that is home to the largest boat launch in Lake Michigan’s Traverse Bay. “We also have 178 people on our waiting list,” Moon said.

Phase 3 of the project, still in the conceptual phase, will include construction of a boaters’ pavilion. One idea under consideration is to have a two-story building with the first floor reserved for boaters, with a lounge, snack bar and showers. The second floor would be a room that could be used year-round for meetings and small receptions. That could generate revenue for the marina, Moon said. Funding for this project would also come from the state and/or the township.

Although the township originally thought it would take three years to complete the project, Moon is hoping that since phase one and phase two are being built simultaneously the overall construction time can be reduced to two years.