Traverse City selects SmithGroupJJR to conduct feasibility study and preliminary design for new public pier

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Design process includes engaging community, assessing costs and benefits

If you truly want a public pier to reflect Traverse City—how it’s shaped and where it’s located—it has to come from the community.

SmithGroupJJR, one of the country’s leading architecture, engineering and planning firms, has been selected to conduct a feasibility study and prepare preliminary designs for a new public pier in downtown Traverse City, Michigan.

The pier’s initial concepts include increased public access to the Grand Traverse Bay and fishing, environmental education and stewardship opportunities, and a strong connection to downtown.

Funded through a Great Lakes Fisheries Trust grant, the design process involves engaging the community and assessing the feasibility, impacts, costs and benefits of a new pier. The concept of the pier was initially developed during the 2006 “Your Bay, Your Say,” community-based, waterfront master planning effort, which was also led by SmithGroupJJR.

Key to the design process is a series of six, public workshops incorporating input from Traverse City residents and stakeholders on topics ranging from the pier’s design and amenities to location and accessibility. The first workshop was held on Oct. 22 at the Government Center on Boardman Avenue.

“Public workshops are one of the best ways to help inform the design process,” said Bob Doyle, ASLA, SmithGroupJJR project manager. “If you truly want a public pier to reflect Traverse City—how it’s shaped and where it’s located—it has to come from the community.”

Missy Luick, Traverse City planning and engineering assistant agrees. “We respect the environment and our cultural past, and the pier’s design has to reflect who we are as a community.”

If the study determines the pier is feasible, SmithGroupJJR will move forward with the development of final design plans.

SmithGroupJJR’s national waterfront portfolio encompasses expertise in waterfront planning, harbor and port engineering, coastal protection design and shoreline ecological restoration for waterfront communities throughout the United States. Noteworthy projects include the Detroit East RiverWalk, Detroit; Northerly Island Framework Plan, Chicago; Fort Myers Riverfront Redevelopment, Fort Myers, Florida and Fisherman’s Cove Port and Harbor in Bellingham, Washington.

SmithGroupJJR ( is a recognized integrated architecture, engineering and planning firm ranked Top 10 in the U.S. by Building Design + Construction magazine. A national leader in sustainable design, SmithGroupJJR has 344 LEED professionals and 111 LEED certified projects.

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Kristi Gilbert
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