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      New microbreweries approved for downtown Traverse City

      Two new microbreweries could open on Garland street in Traverse City's Warehouse District.

      Two new microbreweries could open on Garland street in Traverse City's Warehouse District. The applications from the Workshop Brewing Company for a new microbrewer, small winemaker and small distillers licenses were unanimously approved at the Traverse City Commission meeting Monday night. Actually, commissioners said there wasn't much discussion, since the benefits are so great.

      "This type of establishment really enhances Traverse City's downtown," said Ben Bifoss, City Manager of Traverse City. "It makes it a nice place to come to and enjoy an evening or a date, and it really enhances Traverse City's growing reputation as a food and beverage town."

      Bifoss said the next step is getting approval from the state's Liquor Control Commission. But he also said that process will likely be quickly approved, as the MLCC usually agrees with what city commissioners decide.

      And as that decision came easy for commissioners, the main concern weighing on the minds of Traverse City commissioners is how to proceed with the search for a new city manager.

      After more than four years as TC City Manager, Ben Bifoss has decided to retire. He is scheduled to work through June 28, 2013. Still in the early stages of finding his replacement, commissioners met to decide what that process would be. They unanimously decided to use the same approach they did five years ago: the job will be posted nationally. They also set a salary range between $100,000 and $120,000.

      Commissioners said they expect a large number of applicants from around the country, but agree, Ben Bifoss will be a tough act to follow.

      "It's going to be difficult because we've had such a good city manager in the past (almost) five years," said MaryAnn Moore, Traverse City Mayor Pro Tem. "Sometimes you just can't tell. We're going to do our very best to get another great person, but that's the difficult part."

      Commissioners said they expect this process to take at least two to three months, and Bifoss will be a large part of the interview process for potential candidates. Commissioners are working with the Michigan Municipal League as well as the International City Management Association to help find Bifoss's replacement.

      Commissioners will discuss how the process is going in about a month.