Peninsula Township Plans Haserot Beach Boat Launch Expansion on the Old Mission Peninsula, Kelley Park
Traffic along the road at Haserot Beach; Peninsula Township Plans Boat Launch Expansion and Parking Lot Improvements | Jane Boursaw Photo
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The ongoing discussion about expanding the boat launch at Haserot Beach or moving it to nearby Kelley Park will continue with a public hearing on the matter at the next Township Board meeting, Tuesday, Sept. 10, 2019, 7 p.m. at the Peninsula Township Hall, 13235 Center Road.

Township residents showed up in droves at the August 13 meeting of the Township Board to comment on the possibility of expanding the boat launch at Haserot Beach. After listening to comments, the Board agreed that no action would be taken at the meeting, and instead opted to schedule a public hearing on the matter and further explore moving it to nearby Kelley Park (across from the Old Mission Inn on Mission Road).

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If it’s decided to move the boat launch to Kelley Park, a DNR Waterways grant of $170,217 would be off the table, as it was specific to the Haserot Beach boat launch expansion and parking lot improvements. This grant represented half the cost of the project, with the other half coming from the Township’s Enterprise Fund, which consists of monies earned through cell phone towers in Peninsula Township.

Some 20 township residents spoke at the August 13 meeting, citing concerns that the project would bring in yet more visitors to Haserot Beach, escalate the parking issues, create a loss of township control by accepting the grant money, and lose the small-town charm of the beach.

The Haserot Beach boat launch was last updated in 1990. Over the years, traffic and congestion at the beach have continued to grow, posing safety issues, not only with folks parking alongside the roads, but also with families and kids around the boat launch area.

Improvements outlined in the grant application include regrading and graveling the existing Haserot Beach parking area, adding additional parking, and installing 70 feet of permanent steel sheet piling on the east and west side of the existing boat ramp and dock.

The packet of information for the upcoming Sept. 10 meeting includes several notes from Peninsula Township residents. Marie Cornell suggests that the township purchase and develop more public beaches elsewhere on the Peninsula, as well as eliminate all roadside parking at Haserot Beach.

“Why is the best and easiest solution being ignored?” she asks. “Eliminate all roadside parking! When provided parking lots are full, seek another beach. The beach is already at capacity.”

Tom Prescott, who is part of the Hyslop, Middlemas and Prescott families associated with The Pines (directly adjacent to Haserot Beach), supports the idea of moving the boat launch to Kelley Park.

“This would be a welcome change, and one I am certain most members of the Old Mission community could support,” he writes. “On most summer days, Haserot Beach can look like a chaotic place with trailers, boats, and swimmers all vying for their place.”

He notes that moving the boat launch to Kelley Park would serve a number of purposes: resolve the ongoing parking and traffic congestion issues at Haserot Beach; completely separate the boat launch from the swim beach, ensuring water safety; and allow Haserot Beach to once again become “a great public park for the enjoyment of the entire community.”

Click here to read the correspondence included in the Sept. 10 meeting packet. Written comments on this topic may be submitted to the Peninsula Township Planning Department no later than 12 noon on Sept. 10, 2019. Mail to 13235 Center Road, Traverse City, MI 49686, email planner@peninsulatownship.com, or call Peninsula Township Planner Randy Mielnik, (231) 223-7314.

Also at tonight’s meeting, a public hearing will be held on “The 81 on East Bay” SUP 123, Amendment #1. Click here for more info about what the developers are requesting.

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