Michigan Natural Resource Trust Fund Board
United States of America

Topinabee, Michigan is a small un-incorporated community in northern Michigan with a few hundred year-round residents situated on the western shore of Mullet Lake, one of Michigan’s largest inland lakes. Some of the community dates to the 1880’s, but it is an eclectic mix of new and old, rich and poor. The defining things are the lake, the natural green spaces, and the always present trees of northern MIchigan.

In 2008, a small vocal group comprised in large part of lakeshore property owners organized as the Topinabee Development Association (TDA) in an effort to make the village into a master planned community. This effort included hiring an architectural design firm to create themed business facades, faux finished sidewalks, curb and gutter, and Victorian style lighting.

This master plan has had several reincarnations over the ensuing years: the “miracle mile, “green corridor”, and simply the “streetscape”. All these were the same basic design rebranded over several years in an attempt to garner grants from state and federal agencies. The TDA was successful in implementing a first stage of the master plan design with a reconstruction of the Topinabee Beach Park. That project caused the unneeded loss of more than 16 mature trees from the public park including oak, maple, pine and a willow. There are only three mature trees left in the area impacted by that 2013 construction project.

This park project, allegedly done as a “recreational improvement”, was majority funded by a Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund (MNRTF) grant in the amount of $280,000. The local monetary contribution was more than $150,000. Hidden in the cost was 290 feet of 18” storm sewer over-sized for any need within the park. This unneeded storm sewer is now being proposed to serve as a storm water drain for two blocks of state highway M-27 that will eventually be rebuilt with curb and gutter if the TDA is successful with their master plan.

The next “streetscape” stage is again being presented to the MNRTF as a “recreational improvement”; off-street parking for the Topinabee Beach Park. There are presently more un-defined parking spaces than the planned 15 defined asphalt spaces that will be constructed. The $239,000 project does hide hundreds of feet of 12” storm sewer that will eventually drain state highway M-27 if the “streetscape” project is ever fully implemented. The parking lot project will also cause the loss of more mature trees, grassy areas, and will direct additional storm water run-off directly into Mullet Lake.

We, the undersigned, being Topinabee area residents, taxpayers, and other concerned people protest the proposed changes to Topinabee Beach Park that will further alter the historic rural character of Topinabee and diminish the public green spaces in the village center.

We oppose the removal of trees and grass to add asphalt paving, sidewalks, curbs, ledges, metal fences, and storm sewers that will negatively impact the environment and increase the M-27 storm water run-off into Mullett Lake.

We respectfully request that the Mullett Township Board and the Michigan Natural Resource Trust Fund Board not fund the project identified as MNRTF Grant Application TF15-009.

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The Preserve Topinabee Michigan Public Green Spaces petition to Michigan Natural Resource Trust Fund Board was written by Advocating-for-Tuscarora-Townshi and is in the category Environment at GoPetition.