The City Commission will consider adopting ballot proposal resolutions related to the potential land acquisition adjacent to the Brown Bridge Quiet Area at the their June 19, 2023 meeting.
The Brown Bridge Quiet Area is approximately 1310 acres of City-owned property located 11 miles southeast of Traverse City within the Boardman/Ottaway River Watershed. The City of Traverse City obtained the property in the early 1900s. The property was established as a natural area for quiet recreation by the City Commission in the 1970s.
Brown Bridge Trust Fund
In the 1970s, oil was discovered on the property. As a result the City established the Brown Bridge Trust Fund. In 2019, a ballot proposal passed by 75.89% to allow the City Commission for a period of five years to use part of the Brown Bridge Trust Fund Principal that exceeds $12,000,000 in a separate trust fund to be used for City park capital improvements and/or acquisition of property to be designated and used as City parklands.
Brown Bridge Land Acquisition
In 2023, the City was presented the opportunity to acquire 528 acres of land adjacent to the Brown Bridge Quiet Area for $3,098,445. The City Commission approved a resolution to apply for a Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund (MNRTF) Grant in the amount of $2,352,200. If successful, the City Commission may ask City voters to approve using the principal from the Brown Bridge Trust Fund to match the grant in an amount not to exceed $746,245, if it is awarded.
About Ballot Proposals
The grant match expenditure would require two proposals on the November 7, 2023 ballot.
BALLOT QUESTION ONE: The 2019 ballot proposal included a provision that funds could not be used in excess of $250,000. Section 129 would need to be amended to delete the provision that no single allocation to a City park capital improvement or City parkland acquisition will be in excess of $250,000.
BALLOT QUESTION TWO: The second ballot question would ask the public for permission to spend the principal from the Brown Bridge Trust Fund to match the grant in an amount not to exceed $746,245.
Both ballot questions would need to pass in order to utilize the Brown Bridge Trust Fund. If these proposals were to fail in November, the grant application could be withdrawn.