Events Return to Old Mission, and Township Approves Seven Hills Development and Parks Contract


Two long-running events on the Old Mission Peninsula – Blessing of Flowers and the National Cherry Festival’s Meijer Festival of Races – return in person this year after going virtual in 2020, while an event celebrating local history called Harvest in the Park is scheduled for August at Lighthouse Park. The Peninsula Township discussed the events Tuesday at a meeting where they also approved plans for a development group to revitalize the Seven Hills shopping complex and a consulting contract to explore financing options for township parks.

A century-old tradition will return to the Old Mission Peninsula this year as the four church leaders of the peninsula – Dr Gary Hogue, Pastor Zelphia Mobley, Rev. Ben Rexroat and Pastor Peter Shumar – along with Bishop of the Diocese of Gaylord Walter Hurley hold a Flower Blessing Ceremony on Sunday May 16th.

The ceremony, which has become virtual in 2020 due to the pandemic, will take place in person at Saint-Joseph Church at 1 p.m. followed by a free cherry pie reception at Château Chantal. The tradition dates back to 1910, when residents of the Old Mission held a “blessing of the flowers” ceremony to pray for a good harvest of cherry trees. In 1925, the event became the Blessing of Flowers Festival in partnership with Traverse City business owners, eventually becoming the Michigan Cherry Festival and then the National Cherry Festival.

The return of an in-person flower blessing ceremony this year coincides with the National Cherry Festival making its own comeback with live events, including the Meijer Festival of Races on July 10. Peninsula Township administrators unanimously approved a Tuesday event request for the festival to bring back the race in person this year, with a 5km and 10km route planned in downtown Traverse City and a 15km route. km and half marathon using parts of the peninsula including road segments as well as private vineyards and orchards. The 15km and half-marathon races are capped at 300 registrations each due to the pandemic and are already full since pre-registration, according to National Cherry Festival executive director Kat Paye.

The courses involve temporary morning road closures, including the Peninsula Drive between Front Street and Montmorency Lane and a potential brief closure of Island View Road, according to application documents. Township residents will have alternate traffic lanes available and race structures will be cleared at 11:00 a.m. Township administrators noted that they had not received any complaints about the race in recent years and that festival organizers had worked well with township and local emergency services to coordinate a smooth event. .

Township administrators also approved a request from the Old Mission Peninsula Historical Society (OMPHS) on Tuesday to host an event called Harvest Our History on August 29 at Lighthouse Park. The event replaces Old Mission’s typical annual celebration of the statewide annual Log Cabin Day – normally held on the last Sunday in June – with an event later this summer when COVID-19 restrictions could. be more flexible. According to application documents, DPI will open the historic Hessler Log Cabin for public tours, offer lighthouse tours and offer concessions and special activities during the day-long event, which will mark the 22nd year of celebration. of local history in the park.

Seven Hills Development
After several months of township review and repeated revisions of application documents, a trio of local developers were given the green light from administrators on Tuesday to redevelop the Seven Hills Shopping Complex at 13795 Seven Hills Road, just north of Devil’s Dive Road. .

Jay Milliken, Troy Daily, and Jordan Valdmanis plan to provide a ‘community-driven’ center on site with uses that include a cafe, tasting room, restaurant, studios (including some existing tenants) and businesses. health and well-being. In consultation with township staff to meet zoning requirements, the developers abandoned aspects of their original plans, including having a small 10-room motel, a farmers market, and rental of recreational equipment on the property. The trio also clarified a number of technical issues – like lighting and outdoor speakers – to get township approval. Township supervisor Rob Manigold said these app updates represented a “turning point” in bringing the plan to an acceptable place to move forward, with council unanimously approving the request.

Parks study contract
Although the Peninsula Township manages over 1,000 acres of land and public recreation facilities in half a dozen park properties, the parks do not have an annual budget dedicated to the township, making it difficult for the committee. parks to perform basic maintenance and operations or to plan capital improvement projects in advance. Trustees hope to change that by hiring the Land Information Access Association (LIAA) to conduct a feasibility study identifying potential sources of dedicated funding for township parks.

Trustees unanimously approved a $ 9,700 contract with the LIAA on Tuesday to complete the feasibility study, which will focus on three elements: outlining current operational and maintenance needs, usage, and plans for ‘improvement of the fixed assets desired in the parks; perform a financial analysis that will include estimated annual operating and capital budgets; and a financing plan that could include options such as grant possibilities, township general fund allocations and / or voter-approved mileage for park improvement and maintenance. Trustees expressed enthusiasm for tackling the park study as the township undergoes its master plan update, with council members also sharing their desire to involve the public as much as possible. in the study as well as in the future phases of the decision to improve and expand the parks.

Photo credit: National Cherry Festival


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