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      Commissioners discuss free parking, trail plans, Clancy Park improvements

      Traverse City Mayor Michael Estes presents Jane Hayes with the 2014 Sara Hardy Humanitarian Award.

      The Boardman Lake trail could soon be connected to a new public boardwalk.

      Traverse City commissioners committed to provide matching funds in the event a grant is secured for the Boardman River Boardwalk project.

      The Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund grant would provide more than $255k of support for the project.

      The Boardman River Boardwalk project would give the public a new boardwalk on the southwest bank of the river, from the Eighth Street Bridge down to the current Boardman Lake trail.

      Commissioners say connecting the trails would benefit the community.

      â??It's one of those connections that you need or else it's just kind of lost or wasted because you can't get from one point to the other,â?? said Commissioner Barbara Budros. â??It would connect the whole area around Boardman Lake with downtown which would be very valuable.â??

      A few people who live nearby raised concerns over privacy, saying if the boardwalk is constructed, they would like to see 'no trespassing' signs posted.

      Free parking will only be available half of the year in the Larry C. Hardy parking deck.

      Previously, the ramp was free weeknights after five p.m. as well as weekends from September through May. Commissioners voted to chisel that down by three months, meaning you'll have to pay from May through October.

      Commissioners are also taking steps to make improvements to Clancy Park.

      The Michigan Recreation Passport grant would give the city $35k for the project.

      Improvements would include park walkways, bike racks, and a new play structure.

      The city will provide matching funds if the grant is awarded.

      Residents say the changes are needed, but want to make sure they are well planned out.

      Mayor Michael Estes presented the Sara Hardy Humanitarian Award to Jane Hayes Monday night. Hayes is now retired, but has devoted much of her life to social work. She was an associate professor at Grand Valley State University.

      The award is named in honor of Sara Hardy, best known for drafting the ordinance for the new Human Rights Commission in 1970. She established the commission and served two terms on its board.