2017-12-07 / Views

Elmwood plans rely on intersection design

We hope you plan to participate in a two-day open house next week to gather up ideas about the future of M-72 as it passes through Elmwood Township. If not, consider taking time to write down your ideas and pass them on to township officials, who we credit for looking down the road — make that state highway — toward the future of Leelanau County.

Triggering the input session was a proposal floated by township trustee and farmer Terry Lautner to build a gas station and convenience store on property he owns at the corner of M-72 and Bugai Road. The suggestion was met by a resounding “no way” by many residents, which was similar to the outcry that kept the Beach Bums stadium from being built in Elmwood Township.

We’re not saying the corridor should be developed to its full commercial potential, or that it should remain as is. We are saying that the corridor has already changed dramatically with the installation of solar electric panels, and had started down the commercial path with establishment of a veterinary clinic.

Just saying “not here” won’t revert the corridor to its former agrarian self.

Our bigger concern, though, has to do with the 500-pound elephant down the road.

While Elmwood Township has been proactive in seeking out alternatives for development near the biggest traffic bottleneck in Leelanau County, there’s been no concerted effort by the State of Michigan — the folks with the money — to come up with a conceptual design for the future of the M-22/M-72 intersection.

Meanwhile, the Greilickville Commercial Corridor Task Force met Tuesday to look at alternatives to the present route taken by M-22.

We’ve heard the talk. Many governments are involved. There’s private land needed to effect any real change. Construction of a round-about would be controversial. Should a new traffic corridor be built — as opposed to being endlessly discussed — to route traffic away from the intersection? Yes, it’s complicated. But so was the decision in the 1990s to build Bugai Road as a main traffic artery through the middle of Leelanau County. Now it’s considered one of the most forward-thinking projects ever undertaken by the Leelanau County Road Commission.

As Elmwood officials try to look ahead, any plans they put together will be greatly impacted by the future look and function of the intersection of M-22 and M-72.

Our angst is long-lived. We complained after the Grand Vision study was released with much pomp that the intersection was largely ignored. While actual construction is years away, we need a direction sooner than later.

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Just keeping it on the front

Just keeping it on the front burner will help

It is not clear to me how

It is not clear to me how Elmwood Twp can do much about the intersection of M22 & M72. Although the intersection is in Leelanau County the intersection is not in Elmwood Township, it is in Traverse City.