Fact Sheet

Relationship between Preserve Hickory & City of Traverse City

Hickory is a city park so why doesn’t the City pay for infrastructure improvement?
The City of Traverse City is paying for infrastructure improvements – a lot. The City recently pledged $1.5 million from the Brown Bridge Trust Parks Improvement Fund with a match requirement to leverage additional funding for Hickory. The public/private partnership formed among the city, Garfield Township and several non-profits to improve Hickory has been historically collaborative and effective. We continue to work together on both the development of the long-range master plan and raising the funds to implement it. This approach benefits all park user groups who remain involved and can influence park decisions.

Will the City continue to operate the park and the new facilities?
Yes. In fact, the consultant hired to develop the Plan determined that on a shoestring budget, City staff runs an extremely efficient
operation. The multi-purpose lodge will offer full food and beverage services, retail and equipment rental services. The lodge itself will be available for event rental. Other new activities, to be implemented in Phase 2, include a climbing wall and challenge/ropes course. The City
will evaluate the risks and rewards of running the new amenities and activities or selecting some for management contracts during the
course of plan implementation.

What will be the role of Preserve Hickory after the improvements are made?
Preserve Hickory intends to continue to fundraise in a second phase of a capital campaign, raising money to implement park amenities and improvements, the costs of which were beyond Phase 1 fundraising goals. The non-profit also intends to remain involved in spearheading user group participation and longer-term collaboration among the City, Garfield Township and the Rec Authority (who owns Hickory Meadows).

Plan for Financial Sustainability

Will the park operations be sustainable with the added revenue sources?
By bringing in additional funds through new revenue sources, we expect the gap between operating costs and revenues to significantly decrease. Many of the enhancements at Hickory and its new amenities are revenue sources, which will support park operations.
Through the generous donations of both public and private donors, infrastructure construction will not be financed. The business plan developed in conjunction with the long-range plan with its added revenue sources and no debt service, anticipates sustainable operations.

Will the costs of operating Hickory increase? If so, does the Plan take this into consideration?
Operating costs at Hickory will increase. The costs of maintaining, heating and lighting a bigger lodge are higher than current costs. Snowmaking will increase with new terrain and trails. Additional staff will be needed to cover greater territory and new services.
Trails will need to be maintained. The good news, though, is that most of these costs are investments in revenue opportunity for the park.
The lodge, rentals and food and beverage services will bring in new revenue. New snow-covered trails will draw more users and offer a
new event venue. The Hickory Hills Master Plan does take into consideration greater operating expenses. Even with this increase,
however, SE Group anticipates that revenues will cover the majority of operating costs.

What if revenue doesn’t cover expenses? Will the City continue to cover the gap?
The City has continued to support operations at Hickory for more than 60 years despite a gap between ski hill expenses and revenues.
With new amenities and efficient operations, we expect to ultimately close that gap, but we remain mindful that parks don’t often bring
in any revenue and yet are supported by citizens and their governments. If the public continues to show vocal and generous support of
Hickory and want the park to remain open, we believe it will regardless of gaps.

If we invest in Hickory now, how can we be sure that it will remain open to the public and continue to operate as a ski hill?
The City has demonstrated commitment over 60 years of operations at Hickory Hills, and the recent pledge of $1.5 million from the Brown Bridge Trust Parks Improvement Fund further shows their commitment to the park. Hickory Hills is a cherished Traverse City park, and over
92% of those surveyed indicated they support continued operation by the City despite the gap between revenue and expense.

The Plan is thoughtful, not overly ambitious and calls for phasing certain park amenities. With solid public/private collaboration, the partnership of Hickory Hills and Hickory Meadows and the advocacy for the park, we believe that.

Impact on the Neighborhood

How will the immediate neighborhood be affected?
Trails have been known to increase property values of adjacent lands – a welcome effect. Many current users of Hickory are neighborhood residents who use the park for not only skiing, but for dog walking, hiking, running and biking. For many, living within close proximity to parkland is a significant draw.

An improved park with comprehensive trails will draw more users. With additional amenities and users, we expect park mischief and vandalism to decrease, providing for a safer venue for all. Work has already begun to address parking issues and security at Hickory. Neighborhood interests are represented on the Hickory Hills Advisory Board. Neighborhood concerns will continue to receive serious consideration and discussion. There exists strong, public consensus in maintaining the natural, quaint feel for Hickory Hills and the untouched, wild character of the Meadows. With these marching orders, we don’t expect the neighbors will be disappointed.

What is the plan for increased traffic and related concerns on Randolph Street?
A stop sign has already been installed at the corner of Randolph and Madison to slow traffic. Because Randolph Street (a county road)
lies in both the City of Traverse City and Garfield Township, some jurisdiction issues make traffic and speed reduction issues complicated.
The Hickory Hills Advisory Committee is now working with the Traverse City Police Department to address these issues through
greater collaboration.

How will Randolph Street accommodate more traffic?
Neighbors state that it’s not the amount of traffic on Randolph Street, it’s the speed of traffic that remains a problem. Local law enforcement authorities are working together to address speed reduction. When a large event is planned for the park, traffic issues
will be addressed in conjunction with the event license application. Increased police presence, traffic direction and event busing will
be considered. Opportunities for new or additional entrances to the park continue to be evaluated as part of the long-term plan.

We don’t want more lights in Traverse City…. Won’t new lighting increase light pollution?
The lighting that will be installed over the parking lot, terrain and trails will minimize overlighting without compromising safety and
will fully comply with Garfield Township’s Zoning Requirements and Dark Sky standards.

Questions about Park Operations

Will fat tire bikers and snowshoers be able to use the trails?
Yes. The comprehensive trail design linking Hickory Hills and Hickory Meadows provides trail opportunities for all users, all seasons.
Certain trails, however, may be designated for Nordic use. As the trail design is vetted and approved, we’ll know whether specific trails
will be earmarked for specific uses. There’s lots of room in this public park for everyone though and accommodation is expected.

Will alcohol be served at Hickory?
Current City regulation prohibits alcohol in city parks. Waivers for special events or facility rentals at Hickory will be evaluated on a
case-by-case basis per City policy.

Will bathrooms be open in the lodge during the summer, fall and spring?
Yes. The lodge will be designed with bathrooms accessible from the outside.

Will the lodge be available for event rentals?
Yes. The lodge will be designed as a venue appropriate for events. We anticipate space for weddings, social events, conferences, and
business, club and team meetings.

Will City residents still receive pass discounts compared to non-residents?
We believe the City will continue this subsidy for its residents.

Will fees be charged to use the park?
Yes and No. Ski tickets for downhill skiing, snowboarding and cross-country skiing will be required. Fees will be charged for hosting large competitive and recreational events. Fees can be charged for destination amenities like the climbing wall and ropes-challenge course.

Hiking in Hickory Meadows and on Hickory’s trails is free. Whether parking, disc golf course or other fees will be charged will likely be considered as the plan progresses.

Will the lodge be available for City operated summer and day camps?
We hope so and can’t imagine why the City wouldn’t utilize the lodge and park property to enhance its summer camp offerings.

How will the new features of the park be protected from vandalism during summer months?
It’s expected that the lodge, food and beverage facilities and restrooms will remain open during summer months during regular park
hours. Indeed, Phase 2 amenities are designed for summer use, including the climbing wall and ropes-challenge course. As always, the
cross-country running, biking, hiking and dog-walking trails will remain open. With greater park use, we can expect less vandalism.

Other questions

Traverse City already has two small ski hills. Will an improved Hickory compete with Holiday Hills?
Hickory and Holiday simply don’t compete, and never have. As any skier will tell you, Hickory Hills and Mt. Holiday are incredibly different
ski hills. Hickory’s supporters have long been Holiday supporters and will continue to be. The locations provide both an east and
west-side presence, making it more convenient for families to get to the hill. Families and children will continue to frequent their hill, for
their reasons, which won’t change. With genuine municipal and school district support for downhill skiing, both Hickory and Holiday will continue to serve the community.