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Improving Appearances Visual Enhancement Planning for the US−2 Corridor October 10, 2003 Prepared by: The US-2 Visual Enhancement Planning Project Partnership Funded by: The People and Land (PAL) Program of the W.K. Kellogg Foundation US-2/M-134 Visual Enhancement Planning Table of Contents Table of Contents ........................................................................................i List of Figures, Conceptual Designs and Tables.....................................ii Acknowledgements....................................................................................v Executive Summary ..................................................................................vi Introduction and Project Description .......................................................1 Individual Community Plans Ironwood Existing Conditions – Summary of Field Analysis ............................................................... 1 Community Input ................................................................................................................. 7 Suggested Improvements ................................................................................................. 10 Conceptual Designs .......................................................................................................... 13 Bessemer Existing Conditions – Summary of Field Analysis ............................................................... 1 Community Input ................................................................................................................. 6 Suggested Improvements ................................................................................................... 8 Conceptual Designs .......................................................................................................... 10 Watersmeet Existing Conditions – Summary of Field Analysis ............................................................... 1 Community Input ................................................................................................................. 6 Suggested Improvements ................................................................................................... 8 Conceptual Designs .......................................................................................................... 11 Iron River/Crystal Falls Existing Conditions – Summary of Field Analysis ............................................................... 1 Community Input ................................................................................................................. 5 Suggested Improvements ................................................................................................... 8 Conceptual Designs .......................................................................................................... 11 Escanaba/Gladstone Existing Conditions – Summary of Field Analysis ............................................................... 1 Community Input ................................................................................................................. 5 Suggested Improvements ................................................................................................... 7 Conceptual Designs .......................................................................................................... 11 Mackinac County Existing Conditions – Summary of Field Analysis ............................................................... 1 Community Input ................................................................................................................. 5 Suggested Improvements ................................................................................................... 9 Conceptual Designs .......................................................................................................... 13 Achieving Results/Implementation...........................................................3 Funding Enhancements...........................................................................17 Appendix A: Sources of Additional Information i US-2/M-134 Visual Enhancement Planning List of Figures, Conceptual Designs and Tables Ironwood Community Plan Figures Figure 1, US-2 Corridor Study Area ............................................................................. 2 Figure 2, US-2 Commercial Corridor............................................................................ 5 Conceptual Designs Conceptual Plan 1 – US-2, Entering Ironwood from the East .................................... 14 Conceptual Plan 2 – Entering Ironwood from the West along BR-2 .......................... 15 Conceptual Plan 3 – US-2 Eastbound at Douglas Street........................................... 16 Conceptual Plan 4 – US-2 Eastbound at Lawrence Street ........................................ 17 Conceptual Plan 5 – US-2 Westbound, West of Douglas Street ............................... 18 Conceptual Plan 6 – US-2 Eastbound, East of Greenbush Street............................. 19 Conceptual Plan 7 – US-2 Eastbound, Entrance to Ironwood ................................... 20 Conceptual Plan 8 – US-2 Westbound, Eastbound US-2 at Best St. ........................ 21 Conceptual Plan 9 – US-2 Westbound, Eastbound US-2, East of Commercial Zone22 Conceptual Plan 10 – US-2 Westbound, East Side of Town ..................................... 23 Conceptual Plan 11 – Cross Section, US-2 near Budget Dollar Store ...................... 24 Conceptual Plan 12 – Cross Section, US-2 near Armata Motel................................. 25 Bessemer Community Plan Figures Figure 1, US-2 Corridor Study Area ............................................................................. 2 Figure 2, US-2 Commercial Corridor............................................................................ 4 Conceptual Designs Change Idea 1 –US-2, Entering Bessemer from the West ........................................ 11 Conceptual Plan 1 – US-2, Entering Bessemer from the West.................................. 12 Conceptual Plan 2 – US-2 Eastbound, West of Town Middle.................................... 13 Conceptual Plan 3 – US-2 Entering Bessemer from the East.................................... 14 Conceptual Plan 4 – Entering Bessemer from the East............................................. 15 Conceptual Plan 5 – US-2 Westbound, East of Town Middle.................................... 16 Conceptual Plan 6 – US-2 Westbound at Sophie Street............................................ 17 Conceptual Plan 7 – US-2 Westbound at Moore Street............................................. 18 Conceptual Plan 8 – Cross Section, East Side .......................................................... 19 Conceptual Plan 9 – Cross Section, Downtown......................................................... 20 Watersmeet Community Plan Figures Figure 1 - US-2 Corridor Study Area ............................................................................ 2 Conceptual Designs Conceptual Plan 1 – Entering Watersmeet from the East.......................................... 12 Conceptual Plan 2 –Northbound US-45, Approaching US-2 (with Roundabout) ....... 13 Conceptual Plan 3 – US-2/US-45 Intersection from the South .................................. 14 Conceptual Plan 4 – US-2/US-45 Intersection from N.F. Visitor’s Center ................. 15 Conceptual Plan 5 – Westbound US-2, West of US-2/US-45 Intersection ................ 16 Conceptual Plan 6 – Looking North along US-45....................................................... 17 Conceptual Plan 7 – Cross Section, Northbound US-45, north of US-2 .................... 18 Conceptual Plan 8 – Plan View, US-45 & US-2 Intersection.................................19-20 ii US-2/M-134 Visual Enhancement Planning Iron River/Crystal Falls Community Plan Figures Figure 1 - US-2 Corridor Study Area ............................................................................ 2 Conceptual Designs Conceptual Plan 1 – Westbound US-2, West of Crystal Falls.................................... 12 Conceptual Plan 2 – Westbound US-2, at Ott Road .................................................. 13 Conceptual Plan 3 – Eastbound US-2, East of Iron River.......................................... 14 Conceptual Plan 4 – Eastbound US-2, West of Iron River......................................... 15 Conceptual Plan 5 – Westbound US-2, West of Iron River........................................ 16 Conceptual Plan 6 – Westbound US-2, Split Rock .................................................... 17 Conceptual Plan 7 – Eastbound US-2 at Eastern Crystal Falls City Limit ................. 18 Conceptual Plan 8 – Eastbound US-2, Crystal Falls near Sixth Street...................... 19 Conceptual Plan 9 – Eastbound US-2, Crystal Falls at 141..................................20-21 Conceptual Plan 10 – Westbound US-2, Iron River, Entry to Town........................... 22 Conceptual Plan 11– Westbound US-2, Iron River, East End of Town ..................... 23 Conceptual Plan 12– Westbound US-2, Iron River, at M-189...............................24-25 Conceptual Plan 13 – Eastbound US-2, Iron River, near Gibb City Rd. .................... 26 Conceptual Plan 14 – Cross Section, US-2 West, Crystal Falls, near 141 ................ 27 Conceptual Plan 15 – Cross Section, US-2 East, Iron River...................................... 28 Conceptual Plan 16 – Plan View, Crystal Falls Township.....................................29-30 Conceptual Plan 17 – Plan View, Iron River..........................................................31-32 Escanaba/Gladstone Community Plan Figures Figure 1 - US-2 Corridor Study Area ............................................................................ 2 Conceptual Designs Conceptual Plan 1 – Gladstone, Westbound US-2 at Railyard .................................. 12 Conceptual Plan 2 – Gladstone, Eastbound US-2 entering Curve............................. 13 Conceptual Plan 3 – Escanaba/Wells Township, North of Viaduct............................ 14 Conceptual Plan 4 – Escanaba, Westbound US-2 at Escanaba River ...................... 15 Conceptual Plan 5 – Escanaba/Wells Township, Westbound US-2 .......................... 16 Conceptual Plan 6 – Escanaba, Westbound US-2 at North City Limit....................... 17 Conceptual Plan 7 – Escanaba, Eastbound US-2, South of Danforth Rd.................. 18 Conceptual Plan 8 – Escanaba, Westbound US-2 at Fairgrounds ............................ 19 Conceptual Plan 9 – Escanaba, Eastbound US-2 entering Curve ............................. 20 Conceptual Plan 10 – Escanaba, Eastbound US-2, N. of Ludington St..................... 21 Conceptual Plan 11– Escanaba, Eastbound US-2, N. of Ludington St...................... 22 Conceptual Plan 12– Escanaba, Eastbound US-2, Entering Town ........................... 23 Conceptual Plan 13 – Escanaba, Eastbound US-2, West of City Limit ..................... 24 Conceptual Plan 14 – Cross Section, Westbound US-2, South of Gladstone ........... 25 Conceptual Plan 15 – Cross Section, Westbound US-2, Escanaba .......................... 26 iii US-2/M-134 Visual Enhancement Planning Mackinac County Community Plan Figures Figure 1 - US-2 Corridor Study Area ............................................................................ 2 Conceptual Designs Conceptual Plan 1 – Cedarville, Eastbound M-134.................................................... 14 Conceptual Plan 2 – Hessel, M-134 Eastbound at 3 Mile Rd .................................... 15 Conceptual Plan 3 – Les Cheneaux, Eastbound M-134 West of Hessel ................... 16 Conceptual Plan 4 – St. Ignace, Eastbound US-2 ..................................................... 17 Conceptual Plan 5 – Westbound US-2, West of I-75 ................................................. 18 Conceptual Plan 6 – Eastbound US-2, Moran Township at Portage Rd.................... 19 Conceptual Plan 7 – US-2 Westbound, Moran Township .......................................... 20 Conceptual Plan 8 – US-2 Eastbound, Brevort .......................................................... 21 Conceptual Plan 9 – US-2, Hog Island....................................................................... 22 Conceptual Plan 10 - Eastbound US-2, Naubinway................................................... 23 Conceptual Plan 11 – Cross Section, M-134 Eastbound, Cedarville ......................... 24 Conceptual Plan 12– Cross Section, US-2 Westbound, St. Ignace........................... 25 Achieving Results/Implementation Table 1 – Achieving Results, Sections 1-4 ............................................................................. 6-9 Table 2 – Summary of Economic Development Tools ..............................................................24 iv US-2/M-134 Visual Enhancement Planning Acknowledgements The US-2 Visual Enhancement Planning Project and the planning guidance contained in this document would not have been possible without the financial support of the People and Land (PAL) program of the W.K. Kellogg Foundation. In addition, a number of organizations and individuals were vital to this project and developing the guidance and recommendation contained within this document. The following individuals logged long hours of travel, recorded extensive field documentation, gave numerous presentations and held many discussions leading to the development of this plan. Their effort, dedication and importance to this project cannot be overstated. Rita Hodgins Tom Nemacheck District Extension Educator Executive Director MSU Extension Upper Peninsula Travel & Recreation Association Victor Nelhiebel Adrian Stroupe Victor Nelhiebel Land Architecture Regional Planner MDOT Gerry Harsch Planner, City of Charlevoix US-2 Visual Enhancement Advisory Committee Members from the Communities of John Campbell Ironwood Executive Director Bessemer Eastern Upper Peninsula Regional Planning & Development Watersmeet Commission (Region 11) Iron River/Crysal Falls Escanaba/Gladstone Dave Gillis Mackinac County Executive Director Central Upper Peninsula Planning & Development Regional Joe VanderMeulen Commission (Region 12) Executive Director Land Information Access Association James Stingle Executive Director Carl Ferguson Western Upper Peninsula Planning & Development Regional Program Development Specialist Commission (Region 13) Land Information Access Association v US-2/M-134 Visual Enhancement Planning Executive Summary The purpose of this Visual Enhancement Plan for the US-2 Corridor is to demonstrate techniques and tools for changing the “windshield view” of the US-2 and M-134 corridors in the Southern Upper Peninsula of Michigan. The plan was put together by a partnership of organizations interested in the continued scenic and economic well-being of the Upper Peninsula. This effort was funded by a grant from the People and Land (PAL) Program of the W. K. Kellogg Foundation. Tourism and recreation are vitally important parts of the Upper Peninsula’s economy. Furthermore, studies routinely show that a visitor’s experience traveling to their destination is equally as important as their experience at their destination. Therefore, the corridors bringing visitors to the Upper Peninsula’s vast recreational resources are important to the region’s continued economic vitality. Making these corridors pleasant will keep visitors coming back. By showing specific changes and detailing available techniques and resources, this plan will help communities enhance their corridors, furthering tourism, recreation and economic development in the region. It will be a useful guide to County, Township and Municipal officials, Civic Organizations, Business Leaders, Recreation and Environmental Groups, and all Citizens interested in the aesthetic qualities of their roadways. This plan focuses on six (6) communities along the US-2/M-134 corridor. The communities were chosen to participate in this planning grant through a competitive application process. The communities and the respective corridor segments are: Ironwood Four mile section that lies within the city limits, approximately 2.6 miles along the main thoroughfare and 1.3 miles along the US-2 Business Route Bessemer US-2 within the city limits Watersmeet Four miles west of the intersection with Highway 45 to four miles east of the intersection with Highway 45 Iron River/ US-2 from 3 miles west of Iron River to 1 mile south of Crystal Falls Crystal Falls Escanaba/ US-2 between Escanaba and Gladstone, including Escanaba Township and Gladstone Wells Township Mackinac County All of US-2 and M-134 in the County This plan has several components. For each of the six communities, the plan presents an analysis of existing conditions along with input from community visioning meetings held last spring. Immediately thereafter, several conceptual enhancement designs are presented, incorporating key elements from community meetings and field analysis. The individual community plans and designs are followed by a section on implementation which details tools and techniques used to visually enhance corridors. The last section describes resources for funding visual enhancement. vi US-2/M-134 Visual Enhancement Planning Introduction and Project Description Introduction Views from the road often form our first and most lasting impressions of a region and a community. What we see through the windshield can make us feel welcomed and at ease or uncomfortable and threatened. What can communities in the Upper Peninsula do to ensure that both residents and visitors feel welcomed and encouraged to stop? Visual enhancement planning helps a community re-consider appearances from the perspective of a visitor. What attracts people to your town and local businesses? What encourages people to stay and enjoy your community's recreational resources? What keeps them coming back? Last fall, the People and Land Program of W.K. Kellogg Foundation provided a grant to the Land Information Access Association and several project partners for the development of "visual enhancement plans" for many sections of the US-2 and M-134 corridors. The primary goal of this project is the preparation of a usable and well-supported visual enhancement plan for the US-2 and M-134 highway corridors, with a particular focus on critical community and tourist areas. We are also interested in motivating and supporting local and regional efforts to reverse on-going deterioration and preserve existing visual assets. The project partners used a series of regional forums, press releases, newsletters and a web-site to introduce the concept of visual enhancement, describe why it is important for tourism and economic development, and discuss opportunities for communities to receive planning and implementation assistance. Building on the community participation and excitement generated from our initial outreach efforts, we invited several communities to participate in free, focused planning activities. This plan and the graphics and recommendations contained herein are the result of those activities. What is Visual Enhancement? Historically, highway design and construction has been oriented to concerns about safety, structure and cost. These areas remain foremost in the minds of new highway designers, as they should. However, their preeminence often eclipses another equally important design value - Visual Quality. The visual qualities of a roadway have important ramifications for drivers and communities along the corridor. A driver's view from the road often forms their entire impression of a region and informs their decisions about where to turn, where to stop and how to ultimately arrive at their destination. The visual qualities of a roadway can keep drivers informed, interested and alert or, conversely, confused, bored and tired. When assessing existing roadways, visual qualities must be addressed from the standpoint of enhancements. What can be done to enhance the visual qualities of a particular roadway is a Page 1 US-2/M-134 Visual Enhancement Planning community decision which should be addressed at the local level. However, some activities typically associated with visual enhancement are • Adding bike or pedestrian facilities • Limiting curb cuts and providing attractive, easy to follow directional signage • Adding attractive landscaping or interesting street level features • Preserving, rehabilitating or renovating historic structures • Preserving scenic vistas or agricultural land • Cleaning up of blighted areas • Establishing design guidelines for signage, landscaping, materials, siting, etc. Why Visual Enhancement? Beyond the specific benefits of attractive streetscapes and safer and more efficient travel, the benefits of visual enhancement run much deeper. More attractive, interesting and informative transportation corridors can have dramatic impacts on community pride and economic development. Specifically, communities undertaking enhancement projects have seen: • higher tax revenues • increased tourism revenue • increased private investment and new business creation • increased employment • increased interest in community history and civic engagement Page 2 Ironwood, Michigan US−2 Corridor Visual Enhancement Plan Prepared by: The US-2 Visual Enhancement Planning Project Partnership Funded by: The People and Land (PAL) Program of the W.K. Kellogg Foundation US-2/M-134 Visual Enhancement Planning Existing Conditions – Summary of Field Analysis Ironwood, Michigan was one of six communities along the US-2/M-134 corridor selected to receive visual enhancement planning assistance as part of the US-2 Project. Ironwood is located in Gogebic County at the far western end of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. It is often referred to as the “Western Gateway to the U.P.”, with the US-2 approach from Wisconsin leading right in to Ironwood. The population of Ironwood is approximately 6,000. The subject of this study and plan is the section of the US-2 main thoroughfare that lies within the city limits (2.6 miles), and the US-2 business route (1.3 miles) – approximately 4 miles of roadway (see figure 1). Approaches to Ironwood The west U.S. 2 approach from Wisconsin is Michigan’s gateway. The border at the Montreal River is not obvious, followed by a standard Welcome Michigan sign and understated Ironwood welcome sign. This is in contrast to the large, prominent Welcome Wisconsin sign. The area is wooded and pleasant, visually leading to an MDOT Welcome Center, which is architecturally dated. A pleasant, wooded fairground park on the north side and motels on the south complete this uncluttered first ½ mile of 4 Lane Boulevard. Entering Ironwood along US-2 from the East, a series of billboards line the north roadside, immediately followed by a wooden welcome sign. Pines on both sides screen the limited development along the curving 5 lane road. As the curve turns west, the view dramatically changes Page 1 Ironwood, MI US-2/M-134 Visual Enhancement Planning to an industrial park on the south side and intense commercial development on the north, stretching ahead. The BR-2 entrance to Ironwood begins at the Montreal River Bridge. This “back door” approach enters Ironwood through a neighborhood of older houses, industrial structures and overhead wires. At a confusing intersection with McLeod St., B.R. 2 veers uphill past a well-positioned Ironwood sign, with good backdrop. Cresting the hilltop, there is a good panorama of downtown Ironwood. In general, the approaches to Ironwood have potential, but need some attention. The existing Ironwood signs are small, wooden and attractive and should be emphasized with landscaping. They could also feature the “Gateway” theme more prominently. Visitor information locations should be clearly identified for corridor traffic. There is currently no visitor information location when approaching from the east. Page 3 Ironwood, MI US-2/M-134 Visual Enhancement Planning US-2 Commercial Corridor The heart of the U.S. 2 Corridor in Ironwood is a mixture of commercial and residential use with heavy traffic, best described as “linear sprawl”. While there are a number of attractive properties along this stretch, the overall impression is one of visual chaos, unappealing to tourists (see figure 2). A 1982 U.S. 2 Corridor Plan by Barton-Aschman Associates correctly analyzed many issues (see sidebar). Current analysis from the field indicates many of the same issues. Road & Traffic Issues There are many curb cuts with a great variation in size and spacing. This creates a confusing and unattractive visual along with traffic and access issues. The number of curb cuts also contributes to curb damage from snow-plowing. As in many northern communities, there is an accumulation of grit 1982 Corridor Analysis on roadsides, sidewalks and grass edges throughout the corridor from snow-plowing. Poor drainage often leaves From a study of the US-2 Corridor by standing water in outside lanes. During the winter Barton-Aschman Associates (1982) months, snow storage contributes to visual clutter. Functions Parking and paved areas stretch right to the curb for • Regional highway traffic many businesses along the corridor. This adds to visual • Local traffic (primary east-west route) clutter and is distracting for the traveler. • Primary commercial area of city • “Front Yard” of Ironwood Sidewalks • Main tax and employment base The sidewalks along the US-2 Commercial Corridor in Problems Ironwood are not continuous which creates problems • Abutting pockets of residential and for pedestrian traffic and detracts from visual commercial consistency. They are in generally poor condition, often • Generally narrow right-of-way (78') close to or at the curb and sometimes covered with snow • Numerous access drives - confusing & or plowing and snow grit. There are few cross walks. safety issue, small parcels • Lack of setback of buildings Utilities and Street Lighting • Mishmash of building types and materials Overhead wires and utility poles are pervasive along the • Sign clutter and inconsistent setback US-2 Commercial Corridor running both along the • Lack of off-road or connection between corridor and crossing it.. They are often close to the business forces more car trips roadway and the wires and poles block driver’s vision. • Parking sprawl, often to r.o.w. line Street lighting along the corridor is provided by lamps on • Lack of landscaping at approaches, utility poles. These are not very attractive and cast a roadside, parking and key intersections. yellowish light. Opportunities • Preservation of pleasant approaches Blight and Junk • Redevelopment of larger available parcels (old K-Mart) Blight is not a pervasive problem along the US-2 Page 4 Ironwood, MI US-2/M-134 Visual Enhancement Planning Commercial Corridor. There are some derelict building structures and unmaintained properties. Front yard vehicle storage and auto sales displays along discrete portions of the corridor are not attractive and add to clutter. Signage Signage along the US-2 Commercial Corridor varies in size, number, height, setback and construction. The lack of consistency is distracting and the signs seem to be competing. Billboards are not a widespread problem. However, several are located in less developed approaches, and first impressions count. There is a problem with add-on or temporary signs of varying quality. Directional signage is inconsistent and difficult to see amid all the advertising sign clutter. Landscaping Along the main commercial corridor there are few landscaped areas (residences and banks being the exception). There are few street trees and little, if any, screening of building sides, parking, industrial lots or other distracting or unattractive views. The only focal landscape is present at the Douglas St. intersection. Key Intersections The key intersections along the commercial corridor are at Lake St., Douglas St., Jackson St. and Greenbush. There is little definition to the intersections with commercial development directly to the street corners (except at S.W. corner of Douglas.) Zoning The entire corridor frontage is zoned C-3, highway commercial. Business Route Downtown The intersection at U.S. 2 has a downtown sign and some landscaping but is chaotic. Douglas Street is mostly residential, with banners. The route to reach downtown includes some very awkward, confusing turns and has a “backdoor” appearance, with older warehouse structures and front yard parking. The downtown area has an attractive Post Office and Museum area. There is a pedestrian atmosphere with street lights, walks and a pocket park along with several historic building (theater, depot). In some cases, the fine architectural details of many older buildings are covered by applied, modern facades. Page 6 Ironwood, MI US-2/M-134 Visual Enhancement Planning Community Input – Notes from Community Meeting On April 7, 2003, members of the US-2 Project Partnership, along with the Ironwood US-2 Steering Committee held a community meeting to gather input on corridor enhancements. Community members were asked for their assessment of current conditions, their vision for the future and their ideas for moving toward the future vision. The following notes summarize input from that meeting: City of Ironwood U.S. Highway 2 Visual Enhancement Steering Committee Meeting Notes Monday, April 7 Current Conditions Sidewalks • The system is terrible • Where there are sidewalks, they are narrow • Sand covers them during plowing • They are in bad shape • Snow is an issue Curb design • Snow plowing damages the curbs • We tried some ‘rolled curbs’ and some business owners complained • Snow/winter conditions are a huge factor and impact our curbs, sidewalks and roads Signage • Too many • Neon or no lighting • Size is an issue • Billboards are an issue • The colors are everything in the rainbow • Some have borders others don’t • Some have wood frames others have metal frames • We don’t have any ‘recognition’ signs (example – sports’ teams accomplishments) • We don’t have any cultural identity • Our ordinance doesn’t exactly solve the sign issue • We let things go Page 7 Ironwood, MI US-2/M-134 Visual Enhancement Planning • Many of the signs are grandfathered in Power Lines • Distracting • Visual blockage • Not a clean look • “carnival” look Lighting • Ugly • Inadequate • Only on one side of the road in places • Tied to power poles • Yellow lights • No outlets on poles for decorative lighting Access • Too close together • Too many curb cuts • Not obvious where the entrance is to get downtown Entrances • Not very attractive • Not well defined that we are the entrance to the state as well as to our community Blight • Not always enforced • Lack the resources to enforce • Don’t always get legal support • Comment is that ‘beauty is in the eye of the beholder’ • Vacant lots • Absentee owners – grass isn’t cut • Tall grass is present even where property owners are in the area Desired Conditions • A complete citywide sidewalk system with buried power lines and rolled curbs • Decorative lighting used in the downtown carried to the highway (with power outlets and banner brackets) • Spaces designated for flower plantings • Combination of paver bricks and grass • Landscaped entrances Page 8 Ironwood, MI US-2/M-134 Visual Enhancement Planning • Uniformly designed signage that is tied to our culture/heritage Bridge between Current Conditions and Desired Conditions • Apply for highway enhancement federal funds • Work with MDOT and the power companies to make sure that plans dovetail • Replace the water main • Work with MEDC (Michigan Economic Development Corp) and the Welcome Centers • Put some focus on the Montreal River corridor • Implement sign design (maybe a contest) with themed signs that speak to our roots (mining, logging and tourism) • We are a ‘gateway community’ to Michigan, Ottawa National Forest and the western U.P. and Lake Superior • Review our sign ordinance • Make sure that we have an ordinance to do away with the billboards in the city • Begin some public education • Solutions for employee parking • Publicize what we were doing • Show some before/after • Beautification efforts need to be a partnership among civic groups and business owners • Identify snow storage areas • Explore elevated walkways in the downtown area Page 9 Ironwood, MI US-2/M-134 Visual Enhancement Planning Suggested Improvements Approaches The current, pleasant, forested East and West approaches to Ironwood should be preserved. They are consistent with the Community’s Gateway theme and provide visitors with a visually appealing first impression of the community. Billboards in the area should be removed where possible and future billboard siting restricted. Entering from the East, the industrial park area should be screened with plantings in and out of right-of-way. An appropriately placed and accessible Tourist Information Center or Kiosk should direct visitors to local attractions. Entering from the West, the Ironwood Welcome sign is lost between the Michigan Welcome Sign and the Michigan Welcome Center. A better arrangement would be to relocate and expand the Ironwood sign to Michigan Welcome Center, east of entry drive. The dated Michigan Welcome Center should, at a minimum, receive landscaping treatment and would be a good candidate for renovation or replacement. Entering from Wisconsin along the US-2 Business Route, the McLeod/Aurora intersection should be redone. Building on the existing Ironwood sign with a nice backdrop, new street trees, street lights and sidewalks should guide visitors to downtown. Utility lines should be buried or relocated and billboards removed. The industrial structures and parking to the south should be screened. The existing Ironwood sign could be enhanced with lighting, additional focal landscaping and service club plaques. The community should also explore the possibility of a joint project with Hurley, WI for heritage murals or signs on the viaduct. US–2 Commercial Corridor The visually chaotic US-2 Commercial Corridor in Ironwood would benefit from several enhancements. They are described in more detail here under the following headings: Roadway • Use roll-curbs to cut down on plow damage • Restrict access with joint drives and service roads replacing the numerous single point drives now employed • Explore a 3-lane configuration • Use integral pole/arm signals with signage at key intersections • Restrict frontage parking Sidewalks • Provide continuous sidewalks along the commercial corridor and move sidewalks further from the curb • Use well-marked crosswalks at significant intersections Page 10 Ironwood, MI US-2/M-134 Visual Enhancement Planning Utilities • Replace older utility pole-mounted streetlights with attractive streetlights with white lamps, banner brackets and outlets • Eliminate overhead lines/poles along roadway either through burial or relocation Parking • Eliminate unnecessary pavement in frontage between curbs and buildings • Encourage side-lot parking • Screen parking with low walls, decorative fences and plantings Blight • Screen storage yards and enforce junk ordinance • Require setback for auto sales display Signage • Remove derelict signs and sign structures • Eliminate add-on or temporary signage • Limit or remove billboards (especially along entrances) • Explore a directional sign system with a consistent theme, logo and structure • Identify the following significant community areas: o Downtown o Scenic Drive to Lake Superior o Gogebic Community College o Mt. Zion o Fairgrounds o Museum Streetscaping • Focus community efforts on core commercial blocks and key intersections • Use colored/textured pavers or concreted between curb and walk in tight areas • Place benches occasionally along street • Explore pocket parks at small unused sites • Identify appropriate themed banners for use Landscaping • Use focal plantings at entries to Ironwood, in combination with entry signs • Screen parking, sides of buildings, and industrial areas with appropriate plantings • Use street trees where space is adequate Key Intersections • Provide integral pole/arm supports for signals, signage • Use decorative landscape/screening for abutting commercial Page 11 Ironwood, MI US-2/M-134 Visual Enhancement Planning Business Route (US-2) and Downtown • Possibly relocate Business Route (Lowell St.?) • Redo awkward curve at Douglas / Frederick • New sidewalks on Douglas, possibly paver edge • Downtown: Renovate commercial buildings to bring out original character Page 12 Ironwood, MI US-2/M-134 Visual Enhancement Planning Conceptual Designs Several conceptual designs were prepared for the US-2 corridor. The enhancements depicted in the conceptual designs on the following pages are based on input from community meetings and field analysis of existing conditions. Where possible, we selected locations that were indicated as problems areas in the community meetings or could provide the greatest impact to overall corridor enhancement. With limited resources, the project partnership was not able to prepare designs for the entire corridor. However, elements of each conceptual design are clearly transferable to other corridor sections. Page 13 Ironwood, MI US-2/M-134 Visual Enhancement Planning Conceptual Plan 1 – US-2, Entering Ironwood from the East Current View Proposed Enhancements Page 14 Ironwood, MI US-2/M-134 Visual Enhancement Planning Conceptual Plan 2 – Entering Ironwood from the West along BR-2 Current View Proposed Enhancements Page 15 Ironwood, MI US-2/M-134 Visual Enhancement Planning Conceptual Plan 3 – US-2 Eastbound at Douglas Street Current View Proposed Enhancements Page 16 Ironwood, MI US-2/M-134 Visual Enhancement Planning Conceptual Plan 4 – US-2 Eastbound at Lawrence Street Current View Proposed Enhancements Page 17 Ironwood, MI US-2/M-134 Visual Enhancement Planning Conceptual Plan 5 – US-2 Westbound, West of Douglas Street Current View Proposed Enhancements Page 18 Ironwood, MI US-2/M-134 Visual Enhancement Planning Conceptual Plan 6 – US-2 Eastbound, East of Greenbush Street Current View Proposed Enhancements Page 19 Ironwood, MI US-2/M-134 Visual Enhancement Planning Conceptual Plan 7 – Entrance to Ironwood Current View Proposed Enhancements Page 20 Ironwood, MI US-2/M-134 Visual Enhancement Planning Conceptual Plan 8 – Eastbound US-2 at Best St. Current View Proposed Enhancements Page 21 Ironwood, MI US-2/M-134 Visual Enhancement Planning Conceptual Plan 9 – US-2 Eastbound, East of Commercial Zone Current View Proposed Enhancements Page 22 Ironwood, MI US-2/M-134 Visual Enhancement Planning Conceptual Plan 10 – US-2 Westbound, East Side of Town Current View Proposed Enhancements Page 23 Ironwood, MI US-2/M-134 Visual Enhancement Planning Conceptual Plan 11 – Cross Section US-2 Eastbound near Budget Dollar Store Page 24 Ironwood, MI US-2/M-134 Visual Enhancement Planning Conceptual Plan 12 – Cross Section US-2 Westbound near Armata Motel Page 25 Ironwood, MI Bessemer, Michigan US−2 Corridor Visual Enhancement Plan Prepared by: The US-2 Visual Enhancement Planning Project Partnership Funded by: The People and Land (PAL) Program of the W.K. Kellogg Foundation US-2/M-134 Visual Enhancement Planning Existing Conditions – Summary of Field Analysis Bessemer, Michigan was one of six communities along the US-2/M-134 corridor selected to receive visual enhancement planning assistance as part of the US-2 Project. Bessemer is located in Gogebic County at the western end of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. The population of the City of Bessemer is approximately 2,200. The subject of this study and plan is the section of US-2 that encompasses the east and west approaches to Bessemer and lies within the city - approximately 3.5 miles of roadway (see Figure 1). Approaches to Bessemer Approaching Bessemer from the West, US-2 is a broad highway with 5 lanes and substantial shoulders. At Powdermill Creek near the Bessemer City Limit sign, there is a long uphill view to the Bessemer Welcome Sign. The roadside is wooded, pleasant and inviting. Cresting the hill past an attractive, wooden Bessemer Welcome sign, the visitor is presented with an excellent long view of surrounding hills and the town below. However, several derelict billboards line the roadside to the south thereafter. As the road narrows to 4 lanes, the north sides of the roadway is dominated by residences and on the south side is the first signs of commercial sprawl - unscreened and unattractive auto salvage, a motel, an industrial park entrance, parking lots, and auto sales. Approaching Bessemer from the East, there is an attractive, wooden Bessemer Welcome sign and following that the road pleasantly curves and there are good views of hills and lowlands to the south. On the north side an MDOT roadside park is followed by a motel and nice residences set well back and screened from the road. However, the south side affords a long view of the blank rear walls of a building center. From this point westward, the north side is primarily residences and the south Page 1 Bessemer, MI US-2/M-134 Visual Enhancement Planning side is dominated by open views of service yards, machinery, tanks, gas stations and parking. Insert Figure 1, plan view of corridor> Downtown Commercial Corridor Downtown Bessemer extends along 4 blocks of U.S.2. The right-of-way is narrow and there are 4 lanes throughout. Entering from the East or West, the first impression for the traveler is of sidewalks and frontage paving that is uncomfortably close to the roadway. Large expanses of Entering Downtown Area from East Entering Downtown Area from West unscreened, paved parking near the roadway, combined with curb damage often make driveways difficult to distinguish. Curbs and abutting sidewalks on both sides give a cramped impression, plus several older commercial buildings abut the right-of-way and make clear vision and entering traffic a safety issue. There are several older, architecturally interesting buildings along the corridor that give more of an old town feel (High School and Courthouse, at Moore Street). See Figure 2. Road & Traffic Issues The amount and speed of traffic through the downtown area is a problem (ADT @ 10,000). There are many sidewalks that are uncomfortably close to the roadway – some used regularly by school children. There are not enough marked pedestrian crossings. The South side of the US-2 corridor in downtown is virtually continuous frontage pavement for parking and gas stations. The businesses are neat and well kept, but the appearance is “strip commercial.” The lack of separation between the public street and private parking is confusing and not visually appealing. Page 3 Bessemer, MI US-2/M-134 Visual Enhancement Planning Sidewalks Many of the sidewalks along the US-2 Corridor in Bessemer are in poor condition. As mentioned before, they are often close to or at the curb and sometimes covered with snow or plowing grit. In some instances, the narrow roadway and snow storage problems force pedestrians into the roadway. There are few cross walks. Utilities and Street Lighting Newer, attractive street lights are present along the north side of the downtown corridor. Utilities along the corridor are not that much of a problem; however they are prominent at some cross streets, adding to visual confusion at intersections. Signage Signage throughout the downtown area is inconsistent leading to a visually chaotic feel. There are several derelict, unused business signs. Some commercial signs are cluttered with add-ons or add-on signs are present on light or utility poles. Some signs are located at the right-of-way line. Interesting directional signage for local points of interests is present, but inconsistent and crowded out or obscured by commercial sign clutter. Landscaping There are few street trees or other streetscape elements along the downtown corridor. Landscaping to screen parking or give definition to intersections is also not often used. This is most noticeable in the residential blocks. Key Intersections The two key intersections at Moore and Sophie Streets are not well defined. There is little indication where the cross streets will take you and the lack of landscaping and signage combined with overhead utilities and signals on wires confuse the traveler. The street crossings are not well- defined. Zoning Current zoning reflects the existing pattern of land use. At the east edge of Bessemer, south of U.S. 2, a large area currently undeveloped is zoned “Industrial”. This area is quite visible from U.S. 2 and development will need to be screened both in and out of the right-of-way. Other Observations For Bessemer, “Big Snow Country” is central to its identity, with several nearby ski areas and lots of snow each year. The town is surrounded by prominent hills and its former mining heritage is apparent looking at a map of the area. However, for the visitor traveling along US-2, this heritage is less apparent and not very accessible. There is no central point for visitors to stop and receive “tourist” information. Local attractions, such as the scenic road to Black River Harbor, could use more emphasis. Page 5 Bessemer, MI US-2/M-134 Visual Enhancement Planning Community Input – Notes from Community Meeting City of Bessemer U.S. Highway 2 Visual Enhancement Steering Committee Meeting Notes Monday, April 8 Current Conditions…issues Blight o Tall grass o Junk cars o Gravel build-up on the streets/sidewalks o Some buildings need cleaning up Sidewalks o Grass growing up through the cracks o Full of gravel o Uneven surface o Safety issues in the winter – too close to the highway Snow issues o Difficult to remove o Damages our infrastructure o Sand ends up on the sidewalks and builds up to create a berm o High cost of snowplowing sidewalks Signage o No clear delineation of ‘main street’ o Not attractive o Sterile, barren appearance – no landscaping o No theme o Visual clutter Safety o Water builds up in the gutters creating a dangerous driving condition o A building blocks the Sophie Street intersection where children from the nearby school cross a four lane highway Maintenance o Since the state has taken over the roadside park, it is smaller; mowing is sporadic; the historical marker has faded Landscaping o Landscaping throughout the corridor is very limited o There is no landscaping/very little at the community entrances o There are no trees along the corridor/no greenery o The elm trees that died have not been replaced Page 6 Bessemer, MI US-2/M-134 Visual Enhancement Planning Desired Conditions/Vision for the Future o We would like to see new, uniform, designed, creative signage that sets an example for everyone – perhaps a hybrid kiosk signage plan for area directions and a distinctive sign for the entrances and Sophie Street. o We want to protect our scenic vistas o We want to remove cluttered and outdated signs. o We’d like to have the corridor through the community more ‘traffic calming’ by reconfiguring the road from 4 lanes to three accommodating a turn lane. o We would like to have more greenery and landscaping throughout the corridor. o We would like sidewalks on both sides of the corridor. o We’d like to see all of our storefronts occupied and a vibrant, active commercial area. o We envision a ‘walkable community’ where the vegetation and landscaping is neat o Our historic architecture is preserved and enhanced and we highlight our heritage and culture. Bridge/Potential Solutions o Flower planting/beautification efforts happen as a result of business and civic group participation. o The DDA sets an example of ‘signage’ both inside and outside the community. o In the new DDA plan, there could be a set aside of actual dollars for seasonal maintenance. o The DDA could mow and maintain to the brush line. o The Chamber of Commerce could be the advocate for the roadside park. o Continuation of the current work on the blight issues. Page 7 Bessemer, MI US-2/M-134 Visual Enhancement Planning Suggested Improvements Approaches Approaching Bessemer from the West along US-2, the pleasing forested climb up to the Bessemer welcome sign should be continued by restricting billboard placement along the roadway. In addition, the derelict billboards structures present along the downhill should be removed. Outdoor storage areas and other unappealing visuals should be screened with landscaping and the industrial park access should be better defined. In general, access is a problem and an effort should be made to reduce and/or consolidate drives. This, combined with a physical separation of paved parking from the roadway would soften the traveler’s view. In addition to the billboards, an effort should be made to address sign clutter (add-ons, temporary and mobile signs). The approach from the East would most benefit from an effort to screen building sidewalls and parking with evergreen landscaping. Also, future development along the south side of US-2 should incorporate landscape screening. To draw visitors off the road and provide information about Bessemer, we recommend updating the roadside park with walks and displays. This effort, combined with some additional landscaping around the Bessemer Welcome sign, will complement an appealing approach to town. Downtown Commercial Corridor As mentioned in the field analysis, the present configuration of the US-2 corridor through downtown Bessemer gives a “cramped” impression with little room or safety for pedestrians. Traffic speeds and volume, narrow sidewalks adjacent to traffic and paved parking to the roadway all contribute to difficult navigation and a pass-through feeling along the US-2 Corridor. Most of our recommendation will address these problems. With a pleasant downtown ambience along Sophie Street, the US-2 corridor should highlight and complement the assets already present in Bessemer, lead visitors to area attractions and make it easy for them to stop and stay. Roadway and Sidewalks and Parking • Reconfigure U.S. 2 corridor to 3 lanes, to slow traffic and increase pedestrian space and provide room for landscape and street treatments • Pull sidewalks away from curb, separate with pavers in commercial area and grass in residential to provide for snow accumulation • Extend north walk from Hillcrest Street to Cedar Road, south walk from auto dealership to easternmost residential block • Reduce/consolidate drive openings, especially gas stations. Use modified roll-curb • Screen expansive parking and service areas with decorative fencing walls and/or plantings Landscaping and Streetscaping • Add street trees, where space permits, possibly in clusters • Add streetscape elements (benches, banners) for pedestrian atmosphere • Preserve, restore usable older buildings • Develop commercial parcels south of U.S. 2 with pedestrians in mind Page 8 Bessemer, MI US-2/M-134 Visual Enhancement Planning Blight • Screen all service yards and storage areas with fences, walls or evergreen trees. (Auto salvage and welding on west) • Remove derelict buildings and sign structures where present Signage • Limit height and face area of new commercial signs • Limit/restrict free standing, mobile, temporary or add-on signs • Encourage building-mounted signage • Add directional signs for area attractions and at key intersections • Promulgate a uniform format / structure for community signs and encourage a themed business sign look • Distinctive look - possibly updated Gogebic “Indianhead” logo or Snowflake logo, for: • High school • Courthouse • Industrial Park • City Hall • Steiger Field • Black River Road • Trailheads Key Intersections • Pole/arm mounted signals at Sophie Street and Moore Street, with clear directional signs. Accentuate intersections and the block between them • Emphasize Sophie Street connection to city hall and commercial area Community Identity, Themes and Tourist Information • Project a consistent simple logo/theme (e.g., “Big Snow” and Peaks). • Use banners with bold graphics to convey heritage and recreation. • Provide a tourist information/interpretive Kiosk(s), centrally or at each entry • Create a local heritage trail, emphasizing mining heritage and other important community culture (driving or walking), with interpretive stops Page 9 Bessemer, MI US-2/M-134 Visual Enhancement Planning Conceptual Designs Several conceptual designs were prepared for the US-2 corridor. The enhancements depicted in the conceptual designs on the following pages are based on input from community meetings and field analysis of existing conditions. Where possible, we selected locations that were indicated as problems areas in the community meetings or could provide the greatest impact to overall corridor enhancement. With limited resources, the project partnership was not able to prepare designs for the entire corridor. However, elements of each conceptual design are clearly transferable to other corridor sections. Page 10 Bessemer, MI US-2/M-134 Visual Enhancement Planning Change Idea 1 – US-2, Entering Bessemer from the West Current View Proposed Enhancements Page 11 Bessemer, MI US-2/M-134 Visual Enhancement Planning Conceptual Plan 1 – Entering Bessemer from the West Current View Proposed Enhancements Page 12 Bessemer, MI US-2/M-134 Visual Enhancement Planning Conceptual Plan 2 – US-2 Eastbound, West of Town Middle Current View Proposed Enhancements Page 13 Bessemer, MI US-2/M-134 Visual Enhancement Planning Conceptual Plan 3 – Entering Bessemer from the East Current View Proposed Enhancements Page 14 Bessemer, MI US-2/M-134 Visual Enhancement Planning Conceptual Plan 4 – Entering Bessemer from the East Current View Proposed Enhancements Page 15 Bessemer, MI US-2/M-134 Visual Enhancement Planning Conceptual Plan 5 – US-2 Westbound, East of Town Middle Current View Proposed Enhancements Page 16 Bessemer, MI US-2/M-134 Visual Enhancement Planning Conceptual Plan 6 – US-2 Westbound at Sophie Street Current View Proposed Enhancements Page 17 Bessemer, MI US-2/M-134 Visual Enhancement Planning Conceptual Plan 7 – US-2 Westbound at Moore Street Current View Proposed Enhancements Page 18 Bessemer, MI US-2/M-134 Visual Enhancement Planning Conceptual Plan 8 – Cross Section, East Side Page 19 Bessemer, MI US-2/M-134 Visual Enhancement Planning Conceptual Plan 9 – Cross Section, Downtown Page 20 Bessemer, MI Watersmeet, Michigan US−2 Corridor Visual Enhancement Plan Prepared by: The US-2 Visual Enhancement Planning Project Partnership Funded by: The People and Land (PAL) Program of the W.K. Kellogg Foundation US-2/M-134 Visual Enhancement Planning Existing Conditions – Summary of Field Analysis Watersmeet, Michigan was one of six communities along the US-2/M-134 corridor selected to receive visual enhancement planning assistance as part of the US-2 Project. Watersmeet is located in Gogebic County approximately 50 miles from the western border of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. It is surrounded by the Ottawa National Forest and is home to numerous lakes and rivers. Recreational opportunities abound with hiking, fishing and snowmobiling access adjacent to town. The subject of this study and plan is the section of US-2 corridor four miles to the east and four miles to the west of the intersection of US-2 and US-45, approximately 8 miles of roadway. Since the intersection of US-2 and US-45 is the prominent US-2 corridor feature, we also examined the approaches to US-2 along US-45.(see Figure 1) Approaches to Watersmeet Approaching Watersmeet from the West, the visitor is greeted with a varied, natural corridor of forests, hills, and roadside wetlands. Then a long downhill view culminates in a cluster of run-down structures and wrecked vehicles on the north side of U.S. 2, followed shortly by a similar neglected property on the south side. Shortly thereafter follows a Watersmeet welcome sign at a Y- intersection. This intersection is poorly marked and the traveler cannot easily know where the road leads. Thereafter, the corridor again turns to natural forest and scenic views of lowlands, until just west of the U.S. 2 & 45 intersection, where a metal storage building greets the visitor. This west approach can be much improved by removal of visible blight and selective screening. Approaching Watersmeet from the West Approaching Watersmeet from the West Approaching Watersmeet from the East, the there is a pleasant down hill through dense forest to a Watersmeet welcome sign about 3/4 mile before the intersection of US-2 and US-45. After crossing Page 1 Escanaba / Gladstone, MI US-2/M-134 Visual Enhancement Planning the scenic Duck Creek Valley, attention is directed to the Ottawa N.F. Visitor Center entry. This natural corridor is very appealing and should be protected. Approaching Watersmeet from the East Approaching Watersmeet from the East Intersection of US-2 and US-45 This intersection is the main impression most travelers on U.S. 2 will have of Watersmeet. Unfortunately, it looks just like an intersection or highway service 4-corners, without any readily apparent indication of the town just to the north. There is nothing to “lure” travelers to stop, explore and see what the town has to offer. In addition, the large, triangular, clear-vision setbacks of the intersection give it a wide-open, barren appearance. The visitor is greeted with an almost unbroken expanse of pavement, utility and sign poles and buildings. It is important to soften this view. Improving many aspects of this intersection is the key to inviting travelers to stop or venture into Watersmeet. Each corner needs attention. Northeast Corner Nordine’s Truck stop, Store & Restaurant has a very expansive gravel & paved area with gas pumps, power lines, signs and trucks dominating the view. A newer, two-story, metal service garage is visible adjacent to the paved area. This corner requires the most attention, with definition and screening the highest priorities. Page 3 Escanaba / Gladstone, MI US-2/M-134 Visual Enhancement Planning Northwest Corner The Citgo Gas and Convenience store sits behind the retention basin. No landscaping or screening is present at the corner or in the parking lot. Beyond the convenience store, a bar/restaurant and motel are tucked into a pinegrove with frontage parking to the US-45 roadway. Southwest Corner From US-2, an imposing new Casino Sign dominates the view. It is well set back from the road and some distance from the intersection. Although visible from a distance, the sign gives no indication of where the casino is. The immediate corner features a retention pond area directly behind utlility poles. Behind the retention area sits a derelict gas station and some metal buildings surrounded by outdoor storage. Southeast Corner The Ottawa National Forest Visitor Center sits remotely atop a hill at this intersection corner. It is very visible from the west only. The small hillside sign will be replaced in the future. This corner is very attractive and well-maintained. Page 4 Escanaba / Gladstone, MI US-2/M-134 Visual Enhancement Planning Community Entry and Tourist Information Despite the availability of tourist literature at the Ottawa N.F. Visitor Center, there is a need for more easily accessible, easily visible, around-the-clock information adjacent to US-2. Directional signage should point the visitor to this information, wherever it is. This directional signage could and should go hand-in-hand with development of a prominent Watersmeet community sign. Town Connection The connection between Watersmeet and the U.S. 2/45 intersection is vague and needs to be made visually obvious and functionally strong. Community Identity Watersmeet is a small town with northwoods character, set in the heart of the Ottawa N.F. and other wilderness areas. Logging, outdoor recreation opportunities, Native American heritage and the triple watershed are also key parts of local identity. Clear signage, landscape improvements and visual access to rivers are needed to convey this image. Page 5 Escanaba / Gladstone, MI US-2/M-134 Visual Enhancement Planning Community Input – Notes from Community Meeting Watersmeet U.S. Highway 2 Visual Enhancement Steering Committee Meeting Wednesday, April 9, 2003 Picture This…in 15/20 years o In 2025, we would still have the ‘Northwoods’ look o There would be more greenery in our town o We would have more hiking/walking pathways that would be well defined and we could walk from shop to shop o There would be small shops with log exteriors o The non polluting lighting would be throughout the community o We would have a new community welcome center that exemplifies our multi-cultural heritage o Viewsheds of the river both in town and on US 2 would be enhanced o Traffic calming is in place so people driving can actually see our community o Gogebic Indianhead is incorporated into our logo and we have signed all our lakes with historic signs (on cedar posts- hollowed out so as to protect them) o We are using the Ojibwe language translations and historical references of Native American heritage o There are interpretive signs telling about our heritage o We have enhanced the Agonikak trail and the scenic overlook of Duck Creek and the North leg of the triple watershed divide o The area is landscaped with native species, wildflowers, grasses and ferns o We have a signed, well defined trail system o We’ve incorporated logging, fur trading and the railroad into our theme o We have maintained our wilderness area Current Conditions/Issues Landscaping o No greenery o There is none o Snow removal causes damage to flower plantings o Not maintained o There’s an empty canvas and power lines Curbs o Irregular o Plows damage them o Salt is an issue Page 6 Escanaba / Gladstone, MI US-2/M-134 Visual Enhancement Planning Sidewalks o Irregular o Some only on one side of the street o No consistency from one block to the next Pathways o Not well defined o Two ruts everywhere from 4-wheelers because they just go everywhere Power lines o They stand out o There are so many Blight o Deteriorated buildings o No way to get rid of scrap metal Signage o Ordinance is being updated o The signage is confusing o Entrance signs are too close in and people are by the community before they slow down Clearing on the roadsides o Prison work crews are cutting back the trees on the roadside and it is changing its attractiveness Pipeline o Should be hidden Unclear messages o ‘where’s the water? Potential Solutions o Use of boulders/rocks o Use of native landscaping materials o Enhance the look of buildings with vegetation o Get people to ‘slow down’ o Enhance the identity of Watersmeet o Get some consistency/cohesiveness o Connect the businesses o School renovation could be a catalyst o Consider the viewshed/hill next to Nordeens Page 7 Escanaba / Gladstone, MI US-2/M-134 Visual Enhancement Planning Suggested Improvements There are a number of improvements that will improve the look of this US-2 corridor segment and invite visitors to stop and explore Watersmeet. The approaches to town, the intersection at US-45, and the town connection all need attention. Approaches to Watersmeet East Approach To encourage visitors to stop and inform them about Watersmeet, we suggest: • Relocating the Watersmeet Welcome sign closer to intersection and illuminating it • Selective thinning and clearing to enhance the views of Duck Creek. • Removing the cargo container. West Approach For the West approach, the following improvements are suggested: • Cleaning up the two very visible blighted yard storage areas – removal of wrecks, materials and vehicles. • Landscaping and lighting of Watersmeet Welcome sign • Screening the Baptist Church parking and storage units nearer to the intersection. Intersection of US-2 and US-45 As mentioned in the field visual analysis, the intersection is what most travelers now associate with Watersmeet. This unfortunately leaves a poor impression. The first step to improve this impression is to hide or remove some of the obvious visual detractors. We suggest the following: • Screening of the large paved areas, pump islands and service structures at gas stations on northeast & northwest corners using vegetation and berms on private land and right-of-way. • Screening of building materials yard and metal buildings on southwest corner - native evergreen trees and berms • Removing the derelict gas station on southwest corner • Relocating overhead power lines away from US-2 • Reducing and regrading the north hillside on east approach to improve visibility of a newly landscaped and appealing intersection or roundabout • Considering a Tourist Information pull-off east of Nordines. • Erecting a prominent Watersmeet Community sign using substantial timber structure to drive home the “northwoods” feel • Reduced speeds - possible use of round-about at intersection Page 8 Watersmeet, MI US-2/M-134 Visual Enhancement Planning Town Connection There is currently little indication where the town of Watersmeet is located or what attractions a visitor might find there. We suggest: • Extending the sidewalks from intersection north to the school, the township park, river crossing and, ideally, the casino. • Placing pedestrian level street lighting and street trees (non-spilling) from U.S. 2 northward along US-45 • Placing banners, pictorially representing local heritage: Native American, logging, railroading, watershed divide, recreation and wildlife north to town Other Issues Recreational Trails With the abundance of recreational activities and trails in and around Watersmeet, their prominence and importance to visitors should not be underestimated. We suggest some efforts to further highlight these resources: • Creating trailhead parking for Agonikak Trail at the US-2 entrance to N.F. Visitor Center • Creating clearly marked and visible trailhead areas in and around town • Upgrading existing, local trail areas with crushed stone surfacing for walking. • Creating an off-road walking trail loop from the town park, west along the existing snowmobile trail, then south to US-2, then east adjacent to US-2 then north again to the town park (along US-45 or on the trail paralleling Duck Creek.) • Creating an Ojibwa Museum. Signs Signage in and around Watersmeet is not as much of a problem as in some other US-2 Community corridors. The community should take steps to ensure that unappealing signage does not become a future problem as well as using directional and identity signage to attract and direct visitors. We recommend: • Incorporating the historic “Indianhead” logo in community and directional signage. Use timber supports to emphasize “northwoods” identity and culture • Prohibiting future billboards in defined districts (approaches) using overlay zoning or other tools • Relocating Watersmeet Welcome signs closer to town and illuminating them. • Adding directional markers for trailheads, attractions and parks, with Ojibwa translations and themed consistent styles • Adding new National Forest Service (NFS) directional signs with bear logo and pictorial symbols for activities. Page 9 Watersmeet, MI US-2/M-134 Visual Enhancement Planning • Adding larger, more prominent N.F.S. visitor center sign on hillside, with native landscape and lighting. • Indicating turn direction on the casino sign. Architectural Details Establish community architectural theme for future buildings and renovations - rustic log construction or some other cultural community identity theme. This will require ordinance, overlay district and architectural review board. Blight Blighted areas in and around the intersection with US-45 as well as along the connection to town should be cleaned up. This includes removing junk such as cars, appliances, etc. as well as the removal of derelict structures. Page 10 Watersmeet, MI US-2/M-134 Visual Enhancement Planning Conceptual Designs Several conceptual designs were prepared for the US-2 corridor. The enhancements depicted in the conceptual designs on the following pages are based on input from community meetings and field analysis of existing conditions. Where possible, we selected locations that were indicated as problems areas in the community meetings or could provide the greatest impact to overall corridor enhancement. With limited resources, the project partnership was not able to prepare designs for the entire corridor. However, elements of each conceptual design are clearly transferable to other corridor sections. Page 11 Watersmeet, MI US-2/M-134 Visual Enhancement Planning Conceptual Plan 1 – Entering Watersmeet from the East Current View Proposed Enhancements Page 12 Watersmeet, MI US-2/M-134 Visual Enhancement Planning Conceptual Plan 2 –Northbound US-45, Approaching US-2 (with Roundabout) Current View Proposed Enhancements Page 13 Watersmeet, MI US-2/M-134 Visual Enhancement Planning Conceptual Plan 3 – US-2/US-45 Intersection from the South Current View Proposed Enhancements Page 14 Watersmeet, MI US-2/M-134 Visual Enhancement Planning Conceptual Plan 4 – US-2/US-45 Intersection from N.F. Visitor’s Center Current View Proposed Enhancements Page 15 Watersmeet, MI US-2/M-134 Visual Enhancement Planning Conceptual Plan 5 – Westbound US-2, West of US-2/US-45 Intersection Current View Proposed Enhancements Page 16 Watersmeet, MI US-2/M-134 Visual Enhancement Planning Conceptual Plan 6 – Looking North along US-45 Current View Proposed Enhancements Page 17 Watersmeet, MI US-2/M-134 Visual Enhancement Planning Conceptual Plan 7 – Cross Section, Northbound US-45, north of US-2 Page 18 Watersmeet, MI US-2/M-134 Visual Enhancement Planning Conceptual Plan 8 – Plan View, US-45 and US-2 Intersection (existing) Page 19 Watersmeet, MI US-2/M-134 Visual Enhancement Planning Conceptual Plan 8 – Plan View, US-45 and US-2 Intersection (proposed) Page 20 Watersmeet, MI Iron River/Crystal Falls US−2 Corridor Visual Enhancement Plan Prepared by: The US-2 Visual Enhancement Planning Project Partnership Funded by: The People and Land (PAL) Program of the W.K. Kellogg Foundation US-2/M-134 Visual Enhancement Planning Existing Conditions – Summary of Field Analysis A proposal concentrating on the segment of US-2 that runs between Iron River and Crystal Falls, Michigan was one of six project proposals from along the US-2/M-134 corridor selected to receive visual enhancement planning assistance as part of the this project. This segment of the US-2 corridor is located in South Central Iron County on the Western Side of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula The subject of this study and plan is the section of US-2 corridor starting three miles west of Iron River culminating one mile south of Crystal Falls – approximately 20 miles (see Figure 1). Corridor Overview US-2 links Crystal Falls and Iron River, two towns with a common history, separated by 15 miles of forest and hills. The entire corridor has abundant natural resources with rivers, lakes and forested areas. There are many outdoor recreational activities with rivers flowing through the towns in some cases. The towns themselves are compact, walkable, older communities with splendid older brick and stone buildings. There are a number of historic sites along the corridor and Iron County has established a 36 mile Heritage Route along US-2. The efforts already taken to note and preserve the architectural and cultural heritage of the area are testament to the interests of the community and hold promise for future visual enhancement efforts. Visual enhancement efforts on US-2 should reinforce the link between the two communities. There are however, threats to the visual character of the corridor. There is already growing strip commercial areas at town fringes where, without proper regulation, detractors to visual quality will proliferate. In some cases, attractive, well-placed welcome signs are dwarfed by inconsistent poorly kept billboards. Signage, in general, is inconsistent and detracts from first impressions of the area. The architectural uniqueness of many of the older building should be celebrated, yet, in some cases, there has been insensitive “modernizing” and removal of older buildings. While not a large problem, blight in rural areas should be addressed. Finally, from the visitor’s standpoint, there are few tourist information points and directional signage. Crystal Falls Westbound Approach to Crystal Falls Traveling Westbound on US-2, the visitor actually approaches Crystal Falls from the South. This is a very pleasant rural stretch of roadway that culminates in an uphill approach to Crystal Falls at the City Limit. An interesting tourist landmark called Split Rock, south of town, is not well marked and Page 1 Iron River/Crystal Falls, MI US-2/M-134 Visual Enhancement Planning could be highlighted. There is also a billboard zone developing just south of the city on the uphill. The Crystal Falls welcome sign is attractive and well-located but a bit overshadowed by several billboards preceding it. The sign itself could use emphasis with landscaping. The Town of Crystal Falls The town of Crystal Falls is very pleasant with nice residential areas and trees along many parts of the corridor. The sidewalks are continuous in most areas and there are many views of the historic buildings mentioned previously. There are several less appealing areas with unscreened frontage parking and paving to the street. The curbs and grass borders show clear damage from plows and plowing. Crystal Falls Township Commercial (West City Limit to US-141) This stretch of corridor is two lanes with paved shoulders. The first impression for the traveler is of numerous wide drives and much unscreened frontage parking. There is very little definition between the roadway and parking areas with paving to the roadway in some cases. There are gravel edges to roadway and clear drainage problems in many locations. Streetlamps are mounted to power poles which line the roadway. This problematic combination of numerous points of access, frontage parking, and a concentration of overhead utilities presents a confusing visual. The intersection with US-141 is not very well marked, and there is an unscreened electrical substation and fuel storage tanks adjacent to the roadway. There is equipment storage in the roadway frontage, oil and propane tanks adjacent to the roadway and several derelict structures and signs along this corridor segment as well. This neglected appearance, combined with the absence of walkways and landscaping, contribute to an unattractive, cluttered entry to Crystal Falls along Eastbound US-2. Intermediate Area (Crystal Falls and Bates Townships) The corridor between Crystal Falls and Iron River is largely rural with many assets. The Medical Facility is an attractive building and there is the Firetower landmark. There are scenic views of Fortune Lakes and Chicago Slough, as well as nice vistas from some of the high points along the roadway. There are also a number of recreational areas such as the State Park, Fortune pond and the Pentoga Trail to the George Young Complex. There is very limited unattractive development or blight. Some of the signage to historic or recreational sites could use updating. The S-curve is a safety issue. Iron River East Approach The East Approach to Iron River is four lanes with paved shoulders. The roadway has a wide right- of-way and is elevated. Traffic moves at high speeds. The first distinctive view is of the Riverside Plaza shopping center with a large, unscreened parking area and blank rear and side walls. There is a nice consolidated access drive to the plaza. On the east side of the roadway, eroding hillside cut banks could be shielded from view. Further along, the community welcome sign fronts an unscreened city storage yard and is overshadowed by numerous billboards. There is a very visible Page 3 Iron River/Crystal Falls, MI US-2/M-134 Visual Enhancement Planning triangular parcel at the curve that could serve as a location for a potential welcome feature. There are no walkways is this area. Downtown The downtown stretch of US-2 through Iron River is four lanes with a narrow right-of-way. There are sidewalks along much of the corridor. There is much frontage paving to the back of the curb and some wide access drives which give the impression of no separation from road. Screening is rarely used. There are still many older, architecturally interesting buildings. However, either through removal or the application of “modern”, blank facades, some of the architectural heritage seems to be in jeopardy. Utility lines are not prominent and streetlights have banners. There is nice access to the Apple Blossom Trail and the Iron River and lowland areas provide natural vistas. West Approach The West Approach to Iron River is, in general, very pleasant. There are nice residential areas and a nice cemetery. The auto dealerships are very well-maintained and orderly. The few industrial areas are also orderly and clean. There are limited pockets of blight. The derelict structures at Gibb City Rd. and M-73, a few derelict signs and some areas of erosion should be addressed. Where industrial areas and equipment storage yards are present, they should be screened. Sidewalks are close to the curb and extend to west limit, but should be continuous on both sides of the roadway. There are several billboard clusters that detract from otherwise neat appearances. Overhead utilities are prominent in areas. There is no real welcome area. However, one potential location would be at Gibb City Rd. Page 4 Iron River/Crystal Falls, MI US-2/M-134 Visual Enhancement Planning Community Input – Notes from Community Meeting Bates Township – Crystal Falls City – Crystal Falls Township – Iron River City – Iron River Township U.S. Highway 2 Visual Enhancement Steering Committee Meeting Thursday, April 10, 2003 Vision 2020 – We Picture This.. o Grand entrances at both ends of the corridor o Billboards replaced with holograms o Advanced planned commercial growth planning with an emphasis on the environment o A concentration on the growth of existing areas rather than creating new ones o 30’ greenbelt with trees beyond the right of way o Park area along the Iron River waterway o Enhanced waterways along the entire corridor o Split Rock enhanced as a ‘landmark’ o Improved visual appearance of gravel pits o Native names on city street/road/direction signs o Landscaped industrial park with landscaped buffer o More pleasing architecture and composition/color balance o Long tracts of publicly owned property acting as a visual buffer o A reasonable and consistent policy producing an uncluttered landscape o Retention and protection of historical features o Consistent zoning along the corridor for continuity o Protection of viewsheds o Non-motorized trails/pathways o No billboards but an expanded TODS program o Access management policies in place o Scenic turnouts/roadside parks o Kiosks with local information o Native flowers/shrubs o Helpful attitudes Current Conditions/Issues o S-curve and general road conditions o Unattractive mixed development o (lack of zoning) businesses next to residences o Blight o junk cars o deteriorated housing and general scrap o Landscaping o not enough trees o tall grass Page 5 Iron River/Crystal Falls, MI US-2/M-134 Visual Enhancement Planning o lack of maintenance o Lack of trails and rv accommodations o Increased commercial development on the west side of the corridor o Displacing natural features o Dangerous, unsafe conditions o S-curve o Surfaces o Landscaping o No buffers around current development o Garbage o Dropped off along the route o Signage o Lots of billboards o Unsightly o Gravel pits o Used car lots o Cell/radio towers o Inconsistent zoning o Setbacks o Greenbelts o Enforcement o Spot zoning o Structures o Utilities o signage o Erosion o Tight intersections 189/ US 2 o 150 neglected historical sites o No alternative means of travel o Dead animals o Poor property upkeep Narrowing the spots – Our Top 7 o Fix the S-curves o 189/US 2 intersection o US 2 – US 41 intersection to the city limits o Connect Iron River and Crystal Falls with a multi-use pathway o Buffer all gravel pits o By the Dollar Store – across from Angeli’s Central Market o Identify specific and scenic historic sites o Develop a master plan for the entire corridor Other areas… o Widen the 189 – US 2 intersection o Enhance major intersections Page 6 Iron River/Crystal Falls, MI US-2/M-134 Visual Enhancement Planning o Develop greenbelts and parks o Develop a ballpark ½ between Crystal Falls and Iron River o Develop a new factory/industrial park in Bates Township o Address billboards on the east side of Crystal Falls o Demolish building on the sw corner of US2 and 189 and the se corner of US 2/Gibb City Road Page 7 Iron River/Crystal Falls, MI US-2/M-134 Visual Enhancement Planning Suggested Improvements Crystal Falls Westbound Approach to Crystal Falls To enhance the approach to Crystal Falls and encourage visitors to take notice and stop, we recommend: • Developing an interpretive pull-off at Split Rock. This should include walks and interpretive display as well as local tourist information • Limiting new billboards, especially on the final approach • Adding focal landscaping to the Crystal Falls Welcome sign The Town of Crystal Falls The town of Crystal Falls has very attractive building along with a number of interesting recreational and historical attractions. We suggest efforts that highlight these areas and make them more accessible for visitors while at the same time enhancing the streetscape: • Screening of parking areas at the curve, with trees, shrubs, decorative fence. • Adding directional signs to museums, recreational and historic sites. • Coordinating the addition of streetscape elements with ongoing City improvements • Replacing narrow curbside grass strips with pavers • Adding a location for tourist information Crystal Falls Township Commercial (West City Limit to US-141) The visually chaotic Commercial Corridor west of town would benefit from several enhancements. They are described in more detail here under the following headings: Roadway • Reconfigure roadway to 3 lanes, with roll-curb • Limit curb cuts/widths, use shared drives • Extend sidewalks to U.S. 141 • Relocate overhead utilities away from roadway where possible • Explore possible roundabout at U.S. 141 Intersection Streetscaping and Landscaping • Use new streetlights • Add grass border between curb and walks, with street trees • Add welcome signs / landscaping at U.S. 141 intersection • Use extensive screening (trees, shrubs, mounds, walls, fences) to block/enhance views of: • Electric sub-station • Parking areas and gas station pavement • Storage yards • Industrial park • Oil tanks Page 8 Iron River/Crystal Falls, MI US-2/M-134 Visual Enhancement Planning Blight • Remove derelict structures and signs and monitor add-on sign clutter • Relocate equipment and propane display adjacent to or in R.O.W. Intermediate Area (Crystal Falls and Bates Townships) We suggest the following enhancements: Roadway • Creating an interpretive pull-off at Firetower • Protecting scenic view • Increasing setbacks, with buffering, for future development • Developing an Iron River-Crystal Falls Trail, possibly overlapping with snowmobile trail • Expanding the use of rest areas possibly at Bewabic State Park and Larson Park • Developing a mid-point combined communities sports complex • Reconfigure roadway at S-curve. Signage • Prohibiting new billboards in viewsheds. • Adding new directional signs for nearby Heritage/Recreation sites • Larson Park • Fortune Pond • Pentoga Trail • Indian Burial Ground / Chicagon Lake • Rogers & Bates Mine Sites Blight/Screening of Unappealing Views • Screen waste management site completely (from east) • Remove junk/materials/vehicle storage at Bates Corner • Screen industrial uses/structures (Bates Twp.) Page 9 Iron River/Crystal Falls, MI US-2/M-134 Visual Enhancement Planning Iron River To enhance the approaches to Iron River and make the downtown more inviting, we suggest: East Approach • Screening parking and rear service and sidewalls in the Riverside Plaza Area • Screening the city D.P.W. storage yard and adjacent residential area. • Adding street trees in the wide r.o.w. • Developing a new Iron River Welcome sign at triangular parcel at curve/McDonalds. • Stabilizing erosion opposite plaza • Extending walkway to Riverside Plaza. Downtown • Exploring the possibility of a 3-lane configuration • Screening large paved areas at road frontage and sideyards with decorative fences, walls, shrubs. • Expanding the M-189 intersection • Possibly adding a pocket park in the downtown (sw corner M-189) • Emphasize downtown access • Using pole/arm signal at major downtown intersections with directional signage • Promoting building renovation and new buildings to complement/reflect traditional architecture • Providing community events plaza at existing municipal parking area. West Approach • Removing blight pockets (derelict structures and signs) • Regulate sign and billboard use by removing non-conforming, limiting size and number of signs, removing add-on signs and restricting clustered or paired billboards • Completing the sidewalk link on the south side of the roadway and, where possible relocate further from roadway • Provide screening (trees, shrubs, mounds) at: o Industrial storage yards o Logging yard o Frontage Parking areas • Planting/reclamation of eroded hillsides • Relocating overhead utilities at Howe Rd. • Developing Westside Iron River welcome sign area with landscaping at Gibb City Rd • Adding directional signage system for Heritage/Recreation sites Page 10 Iron River/Crystal Falls, MI US-2/M-134 Visual Enhancement Planning Conceptual Designs Several conceptual designs were prepared for the US-2 corridor. The enhancements depicted in the conceptual designs on the following pages are based on input from community meetings and field analysis of existing conditions. Where possible, we selected locations that were indicated as problems areas in the community meetings or could provide the greatest impact to overall corridor enhancement. With limited resources, the project partnership was not able to prepare designs for the entire corridor. However, elements of each conceptual design are clearly transferable to other corridor sections. Page 11 Iron River/Crystal Falls, MI US-2/M-134 Visual Enhancement Planning Conceptual Plan 1 – Westbound US-2, West of Crystal Falls Current View Proposed Enhancements Page 12 Iron River/Crystal Falls, MI US-2/M-134 Visual Enhancement Planning Conceptual Plan 2 – Westbound US-2, at Ott Road Current View Proposed Enhancements Page 13 Iron River/Crystal Falls, MI US-2/M-134 Visual Enhancement Planning Conceptual Plan 3 – Eastbound US-2, East of Iron River Current View Proposed Enhancements Page 14 Iron River/Crystal Falls, MI US-2/M-134 Visual Enhancement Planning Conceptual Plan 4 – Eastbound US-2, West of Iron River Current View Proposed Enhancements Page 15 Iron River/Crystal Falls, MI US-2/M-134 Visual Enhancement Planning Conceptual Plan 5 – Westbound US-2, West of Iron River Current View Proposed Enhancements Page 16 Iron River/Crystal Falls, MI US-2/M-134 Visual Enhancement Planning Conceptual Plan 6 – Westbound US-2, Split Rock Current View Proposed Enhancements Page 17 Iron River/Crystal Falls, MI US-2/M-134 Visual Enhancement Planning Conceptual Plan 7 – Eastbound US-2 at Eastern Crystal Falls City Limit Current View Proposed Enhancements Page 18 Iron River/Crystal Falls, MI US-2/M-134 Visual Enhancement Planning Conceptual Plan 8 – Eastbound US-2, Crystal Falls near Sixth Street Current View Proposed Enhancements Page 19 Iron River/Crystal Falls, MI US-2/M-134 Visual Enhancement Planning Conceptual Plan 9 – Eastbound US-2, Crystal Falls at 141 Current View Page 20 Iron River/Crystal Falls, MI US-2/M-134 Visual Enhancement Planning Proposed Enhancements Page 21 Iron River/Crystal Falls, MI US-2/M-134 Visual Enhancement Planning Conceptual Plan 10 – Westbound US-2, Iron River, Entry to Town Current View Proposed Enhancements Page 22 Iron River/Crystal Falls, MI US-2/M-134 Visual Enhancement Planning Conceptual Plan 11 – Westbound US-2, Iron River, East End of Town Current View Proposed Enhancements Page 23 Iron River/Crystal Falls, MI US-2/M-134 Visual Enhancement Planning Conceptual Plan 12 – Westbound US-2, Iron River, at M-189 Current View Page 24 Iron River/Crystal Falls, MI US-2/M-134 Visual Enhancement Planning Proposed Enhancements Page 25 Iron River/Crystal Falls, MI US-2/M-134 Visual Enhancement Planning Conceptual Plan 13 – Eastbound US-2, Iron River, near Gibb City Rd. Current View Proposed Enhancements Page 26 Iron River/Crystal Falls, MI US-2/M-134 Visual Enhancement Planning Conceptual Plan 14 – Cross Section, US-2 West, Crystal Falls, near 141 Page 27 Iron River/Crystal Falls, MI US-2/M-134 Visual Enhancement Planning Conceptual Plan 15 – Cross Section, US-2 East, Iron River Page 28 Iron River/Crystal Falls, MI US-2/M-134 Visual Enhancement Planning Conceptual Plan 16 – Plan View, Crystal Falls Township (existing) Page 29 Iron River/Crystal Falls, MI US-2/M-134 Visual Enhancement Planning Conceptual Plan 16 – Plan View, Crystal Falls Township (proposed) Page 30 Iron River/Crystal Falls, MI US-2/M-134 Visual Enhancement Planning Conceptual Plan 17 – Plan View, Iron River (existing) Page 31 Iron River/Crystal Falls, MI US-2/M-134 Visual Enhancement Planning Conceptual Plan 17 – Plan View, Iron River (proposed) Page 32 Iron River/Crystal Falls, MI Escanaba/Gladstone US−2 Corridor Visual Enhancement Plan Prepared by: The US-2 Visual Enhancement Planning Project Partnership Funded by: The People and Land (PAL) Program of the W.K. Kellogg Foundation US-2/M-134 Visual Enhancement Planning Existing Conditions – Summary of Field Analysis A proposal concentrating on the segment of US-2 that runs between Gladstone, Escanaba Township, Wells Township and Escanaba was one of six project proposals from along the US-2/M- 134 corridor selected to receive visual enhancement planning assistance as part of the this project. This segment of the US-2 corridor is located in Delta County in the South Central portion of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula The subject of this study and plan is the section of US-2 corridor running from the northern entry into Gladstone through Escanaba. - approximately 10 miles (see figure 1). Corridor Overview The portion of U.S. 2 from the north boundary of Gladstone to the west limit of Escanaba is the most urbanized in the U.P., as well as the most traveled. The southern half of this stretch is essentially a commercial corridor, with all the same issues one finds in other highway or commercial sprawl areas. The north half alternates between bay views, residential and industrial. There are many positive aesthetic attributes along this corridor. There are exceptional views of the bay and a nice wooded bluff that parallel a section of the corridor. There are numerous tourist accommodations and the community college campus and Pioneer Trail Park are both pleasant areas along the corridor. Many of the positive aspects of the corridor are overshadowed by problems. High concentrations of billboards and commercial sign clutter, as well as unscreened industrial and material storage areas near the roadway detract from the aesthetic appeal and give the corridor a very cluttered appearance in places. There are also numerous driveways in many of the commercial areas that create awkward access problems. Few sidewalk connections combined with high traffic speeds and volume make any non-motorized transportation unlikely. Lastly, there are few clearly indicated places for tourist information and little consistent tourist directional signage. Gladstone (North to Southern Limit) The approach to Gladstone from the east along US-2 is uncluttered and pleasant dominated by woods and lowlands. Entering Gladstone the traveler is presented with long views of industrial buildings, storage yards, rubble fill and railyards - especially at the curves. These are interspersed with views of residences. There is little or no screening present, so the few billboards present dominate the view. Wide right-of-ways would allow significant landscape screening of these areas. The corridor through Gladstone seems dominated by a mix of residential neighborhoods that back up to roadway along with some commercial and industrial areas. High traffic speeds, difficult intersections at the city access point and no landscape screening contribute to a “pass-through” feeling. It seems that access and directions to the city, downtown and extensive waterfront park is overshadowed by traffic, commercial signage and the sides of buildings. Where the roadway opens Page 1 Escanaba / Gladstone, MI US-2/M-134 Visual Enhancement Planning to the bay, there is no pedestrian crossing from the city to the bluff areas. There are excellent opportunities for community welcome features at north and south ends of the corridor in Gladstone. Escanaba Township (Gladstone limit to Escanaba River) This stretch of the corridor has excellent open views of Little Bay de Noc and the Escanaba peninsula - backed by wooded bluff. There are some small businesses and well-screened residences along the bay. However, traffic moves along at high speeds and there are no pull-offs for scenic views or photos. Also, there is currently no non-motorized pathway along this stretch. As you leave the side of the bay, it becomes clear that billboards are spreading and located prominently on curves. Also, there are several prominent auto and R/V sales displays adjacent to road. Further along, the Escanaba River crossing is visual landmark, offering views of the views of dam, Mead plant and viaduct. There is also understated access here to the Pioneer Trail Park and DNR facility. It is apparent that future land use in this area, particularly the development of vacant parcels could significantly impact visual quality. Wells Township (River to South Viaduct) This stretch of corridor is the entry to Escanaba. The middle viaduct is a logical gateway to Escanaba and offers an uncluttered approach with a great opportunity for community identity graphics. Following the viaduct, the corridor goes to boulevard style, with trees in median (to college) providing visual relief. Here the wide right-of-way would allow significantly more roadside landscaping as well as more median landscaping. The businesses are well set back, and the service road on northbound side provides separation. On the eastern side of the corridor, the Cemetery is pleasant green space; however a derelict billboard detracts from the appearance. Also, the cement products site and other industrials on east side of road are unattractive and require screening. The Community College campus and YMCA are attractive, with wooded, green frontage and would provide an excellent location for a community feature or tourist information structure. Further along, the area north of south viaduct is unattractively cluttered with billboards. This entire section of roadway has no walkways. Escanaba Commercial Zone (Viaduct to M-35/Ludington Corner) This section of corridor is heavily commercial, with many drives and curb-cuts and heavy traffic. There is extensive frontage parking with no visual separation between road and parking. Few street trees, older highway-type streetlights, very little landscaping and paving to edge of curb in most areas further contribute to a cluttered feeling. There are currently only scattered sidewalk sections and most pedestrian crossings are unmarked. There are also few off road connections. Competing and inconsistent commercial signs along with scattered billboards clutter the view and make directional signs difficult to spot. Page 3 Escanaba / Gladstone, MI US-2/M-134 Visual Enhancement Planning The U.P. State Fairground is a clear opportunity for an aesthetically appealing community feature along this stretch of roadway. The use of concentrated tree plantings in combination with a tourist information station would work well. West Escanaba (West limit to M35) The West Approach to Escanaba is currently open and pleasant in many areas but will develop quickly. There is an unscreened truck-yard and materials storage, and billboards are spreading and dominate the view in stretches. The Hospital area is an excellent example of well screened, signed development, and further along, the welcome sign is well-located. However, the welcome sign needs a landscaped backdrop as it currently could be confused for another billboard. From the welcome sign, the corridor turns commercial. There is much unscreened parking and paving to the curb similar to the north-south commercial corridor. The view in many places is of blank building sidewalls. There are some sidewalks. The M-35 corner is overwhelmed by 3 gas stations, access drives, and a confusing array of signs. There is no landscaping. The “Escanaba” sign over Ludington Ave. is visible and attractive, although blocked by streetlights and in competition with commercial signage. Page 4 Escanaba / Gladstone, MI US-2/M-134 Visual Enhancement Planning Community Input – Notes from Community Meeting Escanaba/Gladstone/Wells Township/Escanaba Township U.S. Highway 2 Visual Enhancement Steering Committee Meeting Monday, April 14, 2003 Vision 2020 o A corridor with no billboards o uniform signage throughout the corridor to include directional signage o Screening/landscaping around businesses that is well maintained o Tasteful, appealing well maintained signs o Shining, freshly painted overpasses o A sense of welcome to our communities o Clean, well maintained communities o Small town feel o A sea of green space o Our communities are so inviting that people want to stay o A sense of pride o Interesting flowers and trees o People walking around o Lots of activity o Lively places o Power lines have been cleaned up and where feasible, placed underground o Grand entrances into the communities with vegetation and landscaping o Inspiring monuments o Access is safe and convenient o There is a safe feel to our communities Current Conditions Debris o Left over from the winter on the roads and in the parking lots o Builds up over the winter on easements and ends up as a clump of dirt o Bark flies off logging trucks and ends up all over o Trash thrown from vehicles causes blight Landscaping o Tall weeds and grass o Not maintained o Landscaping is expensive and whatever we plant has to be accommodated by our short growing season Unsightly businesses o Run down and inappropriate fencing o Untidy appearance o No screening o Zoning issues Page 5 Escanaba / Gladstone, MI US-2/M-134 Visual Enhancement Planning Signage o Dated o Some don’t serve any function o Confusing o No uniformity o Poor directional signage o Things are hard to find o Lincoln/Washington – “unless you’re from here, you don’t know it’s there” – end up getting lost Signage continued o Too big o Too high o Not consolidated o Our ordinances don’t address these issues Rail overpasses o Rusty o The banks near the overpasses are not maintained and are full of weeds Congestion o Not safe o Not inviting o Too many curb cuts o Traffic is moving too fast Location of welcome center – visitor information o Not visible Locations to be addressed…. o Rail yards in Gladstone o The corridor in Wells Township from Main Street to the river o Viaduct – bridge in Escanaba o Car dealership – used cars – rv area in Escanaba Township Some suggested solutions… o Reconfigure the 4 lanes to two lanes with service roads/turn lanes with more greenery and traffic calming/over pass near schools o More frequent road right-of-way maintenance o Beautify with natural species o Encourage formation of ‘adopt a highway’ groups o Secure easements on private property to clean up power lines – locate lines back further from the road right-of-way o Serious, well thought out, comprehensive master plan o Knowing where development is going to occur o Pursue some type of uniform signage or coordinated system/possibly forming a joint authority o Develop a property inventory and present design plan to property owner for improvement o Develop a beautification strategy o Designate bike paths and explore funding options o Improve landscaping throughout the corridor o Improve directional signage Page 6 Escanaba / Gladstone, MI US-2/M-134 Visual Enhancement Planning Suggested Improvements Based on Field Visual Analysis and input from Community Meetings, we have developed a series of recommendations for enhancing the study corridor. We summarize the recommendations in this section and then present some conceptual designs depicting enhancements in the following section. While the corridor is very diverse and different segments will benefit from different enhancement activities, there is one suggested improvement that we feel will benefit the entire corridor. We suggest the development of a uniform system of attractive, distinct signs for points of interest, main roads, etc. for the combined communities. The signs could possibly incorporate a single logo or theme (e.g., the “heart” of Upper Michigan or Bay De Noc.). These signs would be used for all Tourist/Recreational facilities along the corridor (e.g., historic markers, scenic pull-offs, Wells Sports Complex, Felch Grade Snowmobile Trailhead, etc.) providing regional consistency for visitors. Gladstone (North to Southern Limit) For the Gladstone area, we suggest the following: • Using a divided highway or boulevard style roadway with screening landscaping in the median • Developing a prominent ‘welcome’ feature for westbound travel at initial curve • Beginning directional signage early on the approach • Limiting or restricting billboards • Using large, dense tree/shrub masses, including evergreens (native) in wide right-of-way to screen industrial buildings, yard storage areas and rail yards • Reclaiming the dump/fill areas • Providing an overpass or underpass pedestrian crossing of U.S. 2 at M-35 or Delta • Developing community “welcome” feature on triangular parcel near south city line. Escanaba Township (Gladstone limit to Escanaba River) For this section of roadway, we suggest the following: Shoreline Roadway • Prohibiting billboards on both sides of the roadway • Developing a scenic view pull off at midpoint • Developing an off-road trail on shore side of U.S. 2 Auto & R/V Sales • Developing a setback requirement for vehicles • Requiring landscaped frontage Signage • Removing all non-conforming signs Page 7 Escanaba / Gladstone, MI US-2/M-134 Visual Enhancement Planning • Prohibiting future billboards and limiting business signs • Prohibiting all paired billboards Landscaping • Screening all existing industrial buildings, storage and parking with mounds, walls, fences and plantings, paying special attention to sidewalls Blight and Utilities • Enforcing blight ordinances with unmaintained properties. • Refurbishing south viaduct • Relocating or burying on-road power lines, especially crossing overhead wires Future development • Requiring substantial setbacks for buildings and parking, with plant buffer at roadway Wells Township (River to South Viaduct) For this section of the study corridor, we recommend the following: • Refurbish middle viaduct with bold graphics depicting local heritage/recreation opportunities and adding decorative landscaping around the viaduct • Enhancing the boulevard style roadway by: Adding mounds and decorative tree/shrub plantings Relocating overhead utilities near road Adding new street lighting at intersections only Locating directional signs in the median • Adding a Visitor Information Center for the region with an after-hours kiosk, potentially at College Ave., on west side • Enhancing the commercial area by: Screening frontage parking with mounds, shrubs, trees in the wide right-of- way Screening building sides by plantings at side property lines • Developing a north-south trail/walkway, with well marked crossings at signalized intersections. • Restricting or removing billboard clusters, especially at south viaduct • Screening parking in the service road area by adding street trees • Screening storage yards, industrial buildings (sidewalls) with mounds, trees, fences (in and out of r.o.w.) in the industrial zone Escanaba Commercial Zone (Viaduct to M-35/Ludington Corner) For this section of the study corridor, we recommend the following: Page 8 Escanaba / Gladstone, MI US-2/M-134 Visual Enhancement Planning Roadway • Reducing curb-cuts / access points • Providing continuous sidewalks and well marked crossings Streetscape • Adding brick pavers between curb and walk in narrow r.o.w. areas • Adding new, distinctive street lights with banner mounts • Using pole/arm signals, with street signs at major intersections • Adding street trees, possibly in raised planters • Developing pocket parks at available parcels Landscaping • Screening frontage parking areas with shrubs, walls, fences and mounds, as space allows • Screening sidewalls, storage and side property lines • Removing frontage parking/paving, where possible Signage • Removing non-conforming signs • Restricting multiple signs, add-ons, “temporary” signs, billboards Fairground • Adding new signage at corners, with landscaping • Adding a new decorative fence • Creating a possible tourist information area West Escanaba (West limit to M35) For this section of the study corridor, we recommend the following: Roadway • Substantially limiting new billboards on the approach to Escanaba • Limiting access in commercial area by consolidating drives or using service drives • Requiring substantial setbacks for new development • Screening truckyards and open storage along approach Landscape and Streetscape • Extending streetscape treatment through existing commercial area with sidewalks, streetlights, and pavers • Limiting frontage paving, screening parking and sidewalls or sideyards M-35 Intersection • Removing current signal light and using pole/arm signals Page 9 Escanaba / Gladstone, MI US-2/M-134 Visual Enhancement Planning • Relocating overhead utilities • Reducing curb cuts at gas stations and adding corner landscape treatments • Limiting signs and removing add on or temporary signs Welcome area at Willow Creek • Adding focal and backdrop landscaping • Removing fence • Creating a possible informational pull-off Page 10 Escanaba / Gladstone, MI US-2/M-134 Visual Enhancement Planning Conceptual Designs Several conceptual designs were prepared for the US-2 corridor. The enhancements depicted in the conceptual designs on the following pages are based on input from community meetings and field analysis of existing conditions. Where possible, we selected locations that were indicated as problems areas in the community meetings or could provide the greatest impact to overall corridor enhancement. With limited resources, the project partnership was not able to prepare designs for the entire corridor. However, elements of each conceptual design are clearly transferable to other corridor sections. Page 11 Escanaba / Gladstone, MI US-2/M-134 Visual Enhancement Planning Conceptual Plan 1 – Gladstone, Westbound US-2 at Railyard Current View Proposed Enhancements Page 12 Escanaba / Gladstone, MI US-2/M-134 Visual Enhancement Planning Conceptual Plan 2 – Gladstone, Eastbound US-2 Entering Curve Current View Proposed Enhancements Page 13 Escanaba / Gladstone, MI US-2/M-134 Visual Enhancement Planning Conceptual Plan 3 – Escanaba/Wells Township, North of Viaduct Current View Proposed Enhancements Page 14 Escanaba / Gladstone, MI US-2/M-134 Visual Enhancement Planning Conceptual Plan 4 – Escanaba, Westbound US-2 at Escanaba River Current View Proposed Enhancements Page 15 Escanaba / Gladstone, MI US-2/M-134 Visual Enhancement Planning Conceptual Plan 5 – Escanaba/Wells Township, Westbound US-2 Current View Proposed Enhancements Page 16 Escanaba / Gladstone, MI US-2/M-134 Visual Enhancement Planning Conceptual Plan 6 – Escanaba, Westbound US-2 at North City Limit Current View Proposed Enhancements Page 17 Escanaba / Gladstone, MI US-2/M-134 Visual Enhancement Planning Conceptual Plan 7 – Escanaba, Eastbound US-2, South of Danforth Rd. Current View Proposed Enhancements Page 18 Escanaba / Gladstone, MI US-2/M-134 Visual Enhancement Planning Conceptual Plan 8 – Escanaba, Westbound US-2 at Fairgrounds Current View Proposed Enhancements Page 19 Escanaba / Gladstone, MI US-2/M-134 Visual Enhancement Planning Conceptual Plan 9 – Escanaba, Eastbound US-2 entering Curve Current View Proposed Enhancements Page 20 Escanaba / Gladstone, MI US-2/M-134 Visual Enhancement Planning Conceptual Plan 10 – Escanaba, Eastbound US-2, N. of Ludington St. Current View Proposed Enhancements Page 21 Escanaba / Gladstone, MI US-2/M-134 Visual Enhancement Planning Conceptual Plan 11 – Escanaba, Eastbound US-2, West Side Current View Proposed Enhancements Page 22 Escanaba / Gladstone, MI US-2/M-134 Visual Enhancement Planning Conceptual Plan 12 – Escanaba, Eastbound US-2, Entering Town Current View Proposed Enhancements Page 23 Escanaba / Gladstone, MI US-2/M-134 Visual Enhancement Planning Conceptual Plan 13 – Escanaba, Eastbound US-2, West of City Limit Current View Proposed Enhancements Page 24 Escanaba / Gladstone, MI US-2/M-134 Visual Enhancement Planning Conceptual Plan 14 – Cross Section, Westbound US-2, South of Gladstone Page 25 Escanaba / Gladstone, MI US-2/M-134 Visual Enhancement Planning Conceptual Plan 15 – Cross Section, Westbound US-2, Escanaba Page 26 Escanaba / Gladstone, MI Mackinac County US−2/M−134 Corridor Visual Enhancement Plan Prepared by: The US-2 Visual Enhancement Planning Project Partnership Funded by: The People and Land (PAL) Program of the W.K. Kellogg Foundation US-2/M-134 Visual Enhancement Planning Existing Conditions – Summary of Field Analysis A proposal concentrating on the segments of US-2 and M-134 that run the entire length of Mackinac County was one of six project proposals from along the US-2/M-134 corridor selected to receive visual enhancement planning assistance as part of the this project. This segment of the corridor is located in the Southeastern portion of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula The subject of this study and plan are select areas along the US-2 /M-134 corridor in Mackinac County (see figure 1) Corridor Overview With U.S. 2 and M-134, Mackinac County has perhaps the longest stretch of scenic highway in Michigan. There are many views of lakes, bays, islands and dunes. Preservation of this splendid natural environment, a primary attraction for visitors, should be the main focus. Positive Attributes This stretch of corridor has many positive qualities. There are numerous recreational opportunities along the route, such as campgrounds, beaches, overlooks and public access and fishing sites. There are also historic sites and museums in St. Ignace, Hessel, Cedarville and Brevort. There is readily accessible information and accommodations for tourists and travelers. For instance, visitors can stop at the Mackinac Bridge Welcome Center or Hiawatha N.F. Visitor Center. Public lands, federal and state, abound and offer plenty of recreational opportunities for visitors and residents. To date, there is limited commercial development along the corridor. Instead, the visitor sees all the natural beauty of the area. In addition, the corridor has excellent roadways which have only moderate traffic. Problem Areas While the US-2/M-134 corridor running through Mackinac County generally has appealing visual character, there are areas where it is deteriorating. Blight is present in isolated, mostly rural pockets and most often takes the form of: • Derelict buildings and/or sign structures • Not maintained buildings • Yard storage of vehicles, wrecks, junk materials In some areas, signage is an obvious problem. Inappropriate or poorly placed billboards, cluttered and add-on signs and derelict sign structures all contribute to unattractiveness. The design and features of some towns exhibit an unappealing, “pass-through” character. There are very few walkways in any of the towns. Lastly, on some portions of the roadway, high traffic speeds and a wide roadway also contribute to difficulty stopping. Page 1 Mackinac County, MI US-2/M-134 Visual Enhancement Planning M-134 From I-75 to Hessel, M-134 is primarily a wooded corridor with natural forested views and hidden residences. There are excellent views of the bay. However, two of the first impressions a visitor gets are of a derelict gas station at the Pine River and an unscreened maintenance area at Nunn’s Road. The Les Cheneaux Welcome sign is dated and not very appealing and there are several billboards present in undesirable areas. From Cedarville to the Eastern County line, M-134 is primarily rural and wooded with many excellent bay views. Hessel and Cedarville Entering Hessel from the west and just east of town, there are several billboards. The Hessel Welcome signs at the intersection of 3-Mile Road are dated and the intersection needs definition with landscaping to draw visitors into the village. The west approach to Cedarville is filling up with billboards. In Cedarville, there are issues with access as the commercial area has many drives and no separation between road and parking. There are no walks. Overhead utilities and many signs of various design and condition add to visual clutter. In Cedarville, some specific problems noted: • A junk/materials storage area east of town is unscreened • The M-129 intersection is not well defined • The Tourist Information Center on west approach is easy to miss • There is little directional signage: • Safety concern at school Some noted positives: • Attractive well maintained motel • Museums on or near M-134 US-2 Along the access to US-2 near I-75 in St. Ignace, there is a wide right-of-way with extensive grass on both sides. There is a confusing jumble of St. Ignace welcome signs confronting the visitor near I- 75. There are large parking areas at the commercial plaza and no sidewalks connections to downtown. Heading West from I-75 along US-2, there is a wide right-of-way, with generous building setbacks and extensive grass. There is some commercial sign clutter and parking is rarely screened. There are beautiful bluff top views to Lake Michigan at the golf course and at overlooks. Billboards and derelict signs spoil the views in some locations. Also, auto salvage and auto sales to the right of way detract from the view and add confusion. The Gros Cap Cemetery is an interesting historic site. Page 3 Mackinac County, MI US-2/M-134 Visual Enhancement Planning From Gros Cap to Brevort, the roadway is near lake level and the corridor winds through dense forest. There are very scenic views of lake, bays, islands, dunes, rivers, wetlands and numerous rustic campgrounds and pull-offs for beaches and overlooks. The occurrence of billboards is minimal; however, they are unfortunately placed in scenic locations. There are several derelict signs and sign structures. The Hiawatha National Forest Visitor Center, an attractive building, is partially screened and not well-marked for the visitor. The maintenance yard, on the other hand, is quite visible. The town of Brevort has a pass-through quality, but it could make and interesting stop. There are attractive lake views, a visually prominent historic church and cemetery and some newer condos that are all visually pleasing. However, high traffic speeds (50 m.p.h.), several derelict signs and buildings and some sign clutter discourage stopping. There is development very close to the roadway and no walks. From Brevort to Naubinway, US-2 runs mostly through natural forest. The roadway parallels the top of a bluff at times, with occasional framed views of lake and stretches of coastline road. There is a popular scenic roadside park at the Cut River with a trail to the beach. Also the, Northernmost point of Lake Michigan is found along this segment. There is also an interesting unmarked cemetery at Epoufette. This stretch of corridor has very little development with campgrounds, overlooks, rest areas and beach pull-offs the most prominent features. There are unsightly billboards and auto salvage at Epoufette as well as some vernacular older resort cabins (some derelict). There is a nice east approach to Naubinway which runs along the bay. However, in Naubinway, US- 2 can best be characterized as highway commercial strip on the south side, with sign clutter, wide frontage parking, no screening, and minimal landscaping. High traffic speeds (50 m.p.h.) and unscreened propane tanks and a DNR service yard at main corner add to the unsightliness. From Naubinway to the Western County Line, there are less obvious stopping points or recreational opportunities along the corridor. There is a short bay view approximately 1 mile west of Naubinway. There are several nice isolated lodgings, restaurants and access to Milakokia Lake, camping and Manistique Lakes. However, this is primarily a pass-through area. Adding to this impression are several, specific instances: • Unscreened auto service, salvage, wreckers 7 miles west of Engadine • Gould City intersection: unattractive derelict buildings and trailers, junk storage, utility substation, poorly maintained motel/restaurant • H-33 intersection: metal buildings, derelict store, salvage sales in field • Western approach: uninviting: “tourist trap” impression, truckyard, junk sales • Gustafson’s Resort Motel/gas station (blight) Page 4 Mackinac County, MI US-2/M-134 Visual Enhancement Planning Community Input – Notes from Community Meeting Mackinac County U.S. Highway 2/M-134 Visual Enhancement Steering Committee Meeting Tuesday, April 15, 2003 What We Want to Preserve! Naubinway – West • Forests • Shoreline • Businesses • Inland lakes Hessel – Cedarville The LesCheneaux • View of the water • Integrity of nature • Scenic beauty • Character of the area St. Ignace – Moran Township • Scenic views • Parks • Historical sites, buildings and local communities • Small town atmosphere • Lake shoreline – preserving the natural environment • Turn-outs • Greenbelts • Trails • The red/white/blue moose Our Vision for 2020 Naubinway – West • Forests • More business • Improved roads • Improved storefronts • Clean, attractive, landscaped communities Hessel – Cedarville The LesCheneaux • Abundant nature and scenic views • Effective zoning • Building a theme for design Page 5 Mackinac County, MI US-2/M-134 Visual Enhancement Planning • Small signs • Trees/landscaping • Gateway signage • Bike/walking pathways between the communities • Pedestrian friendly communities • Buried electrical lines or less visual St. Ignace – Moran Township • Redevelopment of Father Marquette Park • Bike and hiking trails expanded • Everything we want to preserve, preserved • Elimination of towers • More roadside parks and trails • Elimination of above ground utilities • Safe parking areas and access to the lakeshore • Curbs, sidewalks, and streetscape through the communities • More wild flowers along corridors • More greenery down streets • Less billboards • Appropriate sign identifying the county • Public restrooms for beach areas • Off set service roads • Landscaped parking lots with low lighting • Guard rails beautified or eliminated • Sidewalks • Commercial development Current Conditions - Issues Naubinway – West • BLIGHT o Junkyards o Abandoned buildings • Landscaping o Poor maintenance on road right-of-way o Weeds o Lack of maintenance on signs Hessel – Cedarville The LesCheneaux • Blight o Junks cars o Empty buildings o Lack of building maintenance • Landscaping o Lack of Page 6 Mackinac County, MI US-2/M-134 Visual Enhancement Planning • Signs o Too big o Inappropriate places o Too many DOT signs o Lack of enforcement/zoning • Utility power lines • Community signs o Not consistent in design o Color • Empty commercial buildings St. Ignace – Moran Township • Abandoned signs • Abandoned gas stations & businesses • Economic development vs visuals • Trash • Temporary signs • Big tall lights • Community development costs/cleaning costs • Slagg’s and Motion Auto’s • Snow fencing along ‘the dunes’ • Lack of directional signage for ski trails, attractions • Lack of landscaping • Rudy’s outhouses Our Top Five Naubinway – West • Corner of US 2 & H 33 • Corner of US 2 & North side of Gould City Road • South side of US 2 and Miliakoia Lake Road area • Corner of US 2 at Beach Road 2 miles east of Naubinway • North side of US 2 east of Miliakoia Lake Road Hessel – Cedarville The LesCheneaux • Blight o Old cars, abandoned/unused buildings, derelict buildings o Auto Repair Shop o Old Red Owl o Old Tool & Die Shop • Maintain scenic/water viewsheds o McMays Bay Overlook o Mackinac Bay Page 7 Mackinac County, MI US-2/M-134 Visual Enhancement Planning • Signage o MDOT o Commercial • Landscaping o Downtown Cedarville o Corner in Hessel • Bike/walking pathway between Hessel and Cedarville (our most important) St. Ignace – Moran Township • 500` west and 500` east of Portage Road o (blight and landscaping – Motion Auto and Slaggs) • Eliminate all abandoned buildings and signs of US 2 • Manning’s Tire – clean up blight and add landscaping • Old gas station on the Pine River (M134) Page 8 Mackinac County, MI US-2/M-134 Visual Enhancement Planning Suggested Improvements Preservation and enhancement of the natural environment and spectacular views found in Mackinac County are a top priority. The most valuable viewsheds to protect are shorelines, river crossings, dunes, elevated vistas and wetlands. Blight Along the corridor in Mackinac County, there are several examples of unscreened junk storage or maintenance yards. These should be cleaned up, removed or screened with evergreen landscaping or attractive fences. There are also numerous derelict signs, sign structures and buildings. These should be removed. There is inconsistent mowing of the right of way and yards along the corridor which detracts from the visual qualities, this should be addressed. Signs, Billboards and Product Display Billboards should be removed and future billboards prohibited in select scenic or natural areas. Where they are allowed, the ordinance should require screening of the rear face. Commercial signs should be limited in number and size and setback from the roadway. Non-conforming signs should be removed. Add on signage should be prohibited. Product displays should be maintained with enforced setback and only allowed on a certain percentage of frontages. Side views of auto/vehicle displays should be screened. Develop display “pods” vs. full frontage displays. Small Town Atmosphere Having an inviting, pedestrian-friendly atmosphere is the key to pulling travelers off the highway and luring them to spend some time (and money) in the small communities of Mackinac County. St. Ignace, Hessel, Cedarville, Brevort and Naubinway can all be interesting stops. Measures to make them more attractive include: • Walks, trails & stopping point (overlooks, interpretive exhibits) • Slower traffic speeds • Highlighting historic structures & sites • Streetscape elements & landscaping • Separation from the highway, feeling safe • Local, vintage character • Sign & blight controls • Maintenance & cleanliness • Directions to recreational sites Page 9 Mackinac County, MI US-2/M-134 Visual Enhancement Planning Directional and Identity Signage Most tourists will not perceive of Mackinac County as one entity, so it would be best to identify attractions with distinct areas (e.g., LesCheneaux, Straits, Hiawatha, etc.). Each area should have welcome points and signs. Directional signage to attractions, recreation, and tourism businesses should use the Tourist Oriented Directional System (T.O.D.S.), incorporating the area’s identity (logo/name/theme). The purpose of the T.O.D.S. system is to place clear, uniform signs close to the road and eliminate the need for more, larger advertising signs. Individual Community or Segment Priorities The following section lists several, specific steps that have been identified for individual communities or segments along the M-134 corridor through Mackinac County. I-75 to Hessel • Remove derelict gas station • Screen maintenance yard @ Nunn Road • Replace Les Cheneaux Welcome Sign & add landscaping Hessel • Limit/remove billboards • New Hessel welcome sign/community directory/landscaping @ 3-Mile • Reduced size commercial signs • Bring walks from harbor to M-134 • Create Hessel-Cedarville Trail, with stopping points (3.3 miles) • Protect bay views with development controls Cedarville • Billboard control/removal • Relocate overhead utilities • Reduce sign clutter (commercial & traffic) • Use more T.O.D.S. & directional signage (highlight museums) • Define M-129 intersection with streetscape, walks to harbor • Add walks @ M-134 Page 10 Mackinac County, MI US-2/M-134 Visual Enhancement Planning • Separate road & parking areas with curb/drives • Clean-up/screen auto & materials yards east side (fencing, planting) The following section briefly lists several, specific steps that have been identified for individual communities or segments along the US-2 corridor through Mackinac County. St. Ignace • Consolidate Welcome signs and add focal landscaping • Screen commercial/parking areas with trees, shrubs, berms • Relocate utilities • Add sidewalk connection to downtown • Replace directional signs, use established St. Ignace logo, highlight museums U.S. 2 Moran Township • Remove/screen blight areas • Screen parking and service areas in commercial • Reduce sign clutter, remove derelict signs • Future development setback and buffering with connecting service drives and joint access • Directional signage Gros Cap to Brevort • Preserve scenic viewsheds and natural environment • Remove billboards in scenic, shoreline locations (example: @ Pointe aux Chenes River bridge) • Use T.O.D.S. for businesses • Remove derelict signs, structures • Highlight N.F.S. “Visitor Center” with better sign & visual prominence Page 11 Mackinac County, MI US-2/M-134 Visual Enhancement Planning Brevort • Welcome sign • Remove/renovate derelict structures • Remove derelict signs • Slow traffic (possible 3 lanes) • Add off-road sidewalk • Highlight historic church, cemetery • Provide overlook Brevort - Naubinway • Preserve scenic, natural qualities • Epoufette: limit billboards, screen auto salvage, identify cemetery Naubinway • Reduce traffic speed • Reduce commercial sign clutter • T.O.D.S. for local attractions • Widen and plant landscape buffer between U.S. 2 and parking. • Screen propane, DNR service yard Naubinway - West County Line • Address blight issues with clean-up/screening • Provide welcome feature at west county line (possible information kiosk) Page 12 Mackinac County, MI US-2/M-134 Visual Enhancement Planning Conceptual Designs Several conceptual designs were prepared for the US-2/M-134 corridor. The enhancements depicted in the conceptual designs on the following pages are based on input from community meetings and field analysis of existing conditions. Where possible, we selected locations that were indicated as problems areas in the community meetings or could provide the greatest impact to overall corridor enhancement. With limited resources, the project partnership was not able to prepare designs for the entire corridor. However, elements of each conceptual design are clearly transferable to other corridor sections. Page 13 Mackinac County, MI US-2/M-134 Visual Enhancement Planning Conceptual Plan 1 – Cedarville, Eastbound M-134 Current View Proposed Enhancements Page 14 Mackinac County, MI US-2/M-134 Visual Enhancement Planning Conceptual Plan 2 – Hessel, M-134 Eastbound at 3 Mile Rd. Current View Proposed Enhancements Page 15 Mackinac County, MI US-2/M-134 Visual Enhancement Planning Conceptual Plan 3 – Les Cheneaux, Eastbound M-134 West of Hessel Current View Proposed Enhancements Page 16 Mackinac County, MI US-2/M-134 Visual Enhancement Planning Conceptual Plan 4 – St. Ignace, Eastbound US-2 Current View Proposed Enhancements Page 17 Mackinac County, MI US-2/M-134 Visual Enhancement Planning Conceptual Plan 5 – Westbound US-2, West of I-75 Current View Proposed Enhancements Page 18 Mackinac County, MI US-2/M-134 Visual Enhancement Planning Conceptual Plan 6 – Eastbound US-2, Moran Township at Portage Rd. Current View Proposed Enhancements Page 19 Mackinac County, MI US-2/M-134 Visual Enhancement Planning Conceptual Plan 7– US-2 Westbound, Moran Township Current View Proposed Enhancements Page 20 Mackinac County, MI US-2/M-134 Visual Enhancement Planning Conceptual Plan 8 – US-2 Eastbound, Brevort Current View Proposed Enhancements Page 21 Mackinac County, MI US-2/M-134 Visual Enhancement Planning Conceptual Plan 9 – US-2, Hog Island Current View Proposed Enhancements Page 22 Mackinac County, MI US-2/M-134 Visual Enhancement Planning Conceptual Plan 10 – Eastbound US-2, Naubinway Current View Proposed Enhancements Page 23 Mackinac County, MI US-2/M-134 Visual Enhancement Planning Conceptual Plan 11 – Cross Section, M-134 Eastbound, Cedarville Page 24 Mackinac County, MI US-2/M-134 Visual Enhancement Planning Conceptual Plan 12 – Cross Section, US-2 Westbound, St. Ignace Page 25 Mackinac County, MI US-2/M-134 Visual Enhancement Planning Achieving Results/Implementation The previous sections of this plan focused on an analysis of existing conditions along the US-2 study area. We summarized findings and recommendations from community meetings and combined these comments with professional field analysis. We detailed suggestions for improving the US-2 study corridor and presented conceptual enhancement designs along the corridor. This section of the report will present an overview of how to implement the changes detailed in the conceptual designs. It should be clearly recognized that implementing some or the entire series of corridor enhancements proposed in this plan is no small endeavor. In many cases, it may be best to start with a smaller pilot project to show what can be accomplished. Either way, moving forward will require the continued commitment of the community steering team and other key stakeholders. New relationships between local officials, business owners and other community interests will have to be formed and nourished. It will require significant new sources of funding, substantial regulatory changes, and serious voluntary efforts. This is a long term process and one that is likely to change over time. Working Together The implementation of a visual protection/enhancement projects for the US-2 highway corridor in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula could potentially be accomplished in several ways. Local areas acting on their own initiative could independently plan and undertake projects. Collectively, these independent efforts could result in significant protection/enhancement. An example of such a corridor is US-31 through Grand Traverse, Antrim, Charlevoix, and Emmet Counties in the Lower Peninsula where the communities of Traverse City and environs, Elk Rapids, Charlevoix, Petoskey/Bay View, Alanson, Pellston, and Mackinaw City have all worked independently and without coordination to contribute to visual enhancement of that highway corridor. The draw back to this approach can be a lack of visual enhancement/preservation continuity along the highway corridor and potential disregard for the corridor in rural areas. A better, and perhaps more fruitful, approach to the protection/enhancement of arterial corridors that pass through a number of communities interspersed with rural areas, is to establish a supervisory or oversight body. This organization can work to plan, promote, and coordinate appropriate protection/enhancement activities throughout a large geographical area such as the Upper Peninsula. The National Scenic Byways Program provides a model for such an organization with its advocates groups. These groups are typically organized as non-profits that take on the responsibility for the preparation of “corridor management plans” which identify key resources, threats to those resources, preservation strategies, and marketing plans. If appropriately organized as a nonprofit such an advocacy group has the ability to receive grants from charitable foundations, certain governmental funding, and tax exempt gifts from a variety of private donors. These funds can be used to support a staff and its expenses and/or to fund a variety of projects along the roadway corridor. The strength of such an organization, however, normally comes through its advocate members that volunteer and dedicate their time and energy to a variety of activities that support a planned and coordinated preservation/restoration program for the entire geographic area. Such an organization Page 3 US-2/M-134 Visual Enhancement Planning brings together groups from various local communities, creating a synergism among interested parties which can breathe life and longevity into the preservation/restoration effort. Persistence to achieve the goals and objectives of a preservation/restoration effort is essential as implementation will not be achieved overnight. Rather, significant results will be realized over years as small accomplishments begin to accumulate and the effort snowballs to achieve a critical mass. That critical mass is essential to overcome false starts, political inertia, limited financial resources, resistance to change, resistance to regulate, burn out, etc. A desire to imitate or “keep up with the Joneses” can be a driving force for community change. Often a forward-thinking community, by way of example, can inspire similar activity by other communities. This can be seen in the language found within the various zoning ordinances which are in place in communities along the U.S. 2 corridor. For example, essentially the same language requiring screening between residential and commercial and industrial uses, right down to specifying the plants to use, appears in several zoning ordinances adopted by communities along the corridor. Obviously one of these communities was the first to adopt such language. Others then followed the example of the first. The inspiration for visual enhancement/preservation projects can spread in a similar manner. For example, Community A adopts a billboard ordinance which is effective in stopping the visual blight of billboards. Community B learns of A’s success and adopts such an ordinance for its community. A regional organization which brings the various stakeholders together can provide the inspiration, education, technical expertise and financial resources necessary to get the ball rolling and to keep it moving avoiding project melt down over time. It can assist the various component local groups in accessing and/or working with the many private and public resources which either exist or could be created to contribute to the effort. There are many fine examples of regional organizations which have been established to assure the successful implementation of a plan such as the proposed UP Transportation Visual Enhancement Project. One such organization is the Mountains to Sound Greenway Trust in Washington State. Information about that trust as an example may be obtained from email@example.com. A Michigan example is the Grand Traverse Regional Land Conservancy at Traverse City (www.landtrust.org) and the Little Traverse Bay Regional Land Conservancy at Petoskey/Harbor Springs (www.landtrust.org) that are working together to undertake protection/enhancement projects along the U.S. 31 corridor between Traverse City and Mackinaw City. Implementation Tools and Resources There were a number of different issues and suggestions raised during community meetings and most issues have been incorporated into the conceptual designs. In this section, we will suggest some tools and resources to address the most common problems. It should be remembered that in many cases, applications for enhancement funding, especially to state agencies, require plans and the conceptual designs can be useful for this purpose. For a comprehensive matrix of problems/issues and suggested vehicles to address these problems, see Table 1. (presented in four sections 1-4). This matrix identifies approximately eighty (80) resources which could have a potential roll in implementing the protection/enhancement effort Page 4 US-2/M-134 Visual Enhancement Planning being proposed. These resources range from providing advocacy support to volunteer labor. They have been identified in the matrix as follows: A Advocacy/community support E Education support F Funding support L Project labor R Regulatory requirements T Technical support V Volunteer labor A. Advocacy/community support can come from a variety of individuals or groups. These groups are important players that can send a positive message regarding the need and community support for the project and can challenge local politicians and governmental officials to act in a positive and responsible way to implement contributing activities such as enacting appropriate zoning ordinances, sign regulations, etc. E. Education support regarding the benefits of implementing a restoration/enhancement project is available from a variety of sources such as the MSU Extension Service or the staff of the various Conservation Districts. F. Funding support is available from a variety of fund raising activities, to grants from private and public sources, to the better utilization of the funds expended by governmental agencies in particular those responsible for the roadways and their corridors. L. Project labor is either staff or contract labor which is assigned to preservation/restoration efforts by the agencies responsible for the roadways and their corridors. It may also come in the form of prison work crews which are available to assist communities. R. Regulatory requirements are those which are set out in laws adopted to regulate the use of land. They include zoning and building codes and a variety of nuisance ordinances which can regulate blight, signage, landscaping, lighting, land use, historic sites etc. Page 5 Table 1 - Achieving Results Private/Community Efforts Public/Governmental Efforts Duty to maintain propertry provisions Tourism & Recreation Promotion Organization Governing Council, Commission or Board Local - Regional - State - Federal Community Beautification Organizations Improved maintenance proceedures Comprehensive plan provisions Industrial Development Organizations Zoning Ordinance & Enforcement Capital Improvement Program Local, State, National Foundations Community Education Program Scenic Michigan - Scenic America County Planning Commissions Roadway Littering Ordinance Park Board or Commission Public Works, Engineering Environmental Organizations County Zoning Ordinance Junk car provisions Park Boards & Commissions Blight & Junk Ordinances Landscape Ordinance Cities - Villages - Townships Master Gardner Program Master Planner Program Problem Issue/Work Topics Erosion control projects Adopt-a-road programs Sidewalk Ordinance Planning Commission Chamber of Commerce Grass Ordinance Blight Ordinance Sign Ordinance Police Department County Commissions Roadside projects Conservation District Road Commissions Sherifs Department Fire Department Historical Societies Timber Companies Trail Organizations Jail work crews Utility Companies Day of Caring Road Patrols MSU Extension Conservancies Service Clubs Garden Clubs DDA - TIF United Way Railroads Courts County Local Blight, Junk/other Property Maintenance Issues Deteriorated/abandoned buildings F A A F A A F V R R R R R F F V R R R E E L R Junk cars F A A A A F V FR R R R R R R R E E R L R Scrap metal and other debris F A A A A F V R R R R R E E L R Unkept houses, buildings and landscape F AV A A A F V R R R R R R R R V E E L R Coordination of garbage pickup/collection sites R R Maintenance of highway right-of-way Dead animals along roadway L L Hillside/road cut erosion AV A AV V A AV V F L V L L Debris from logging and similar trucks V R V L R L R Sand removal from winter maintenance A A A A A A L L Damaged curbs from snow removal A A A A A A F F L F FL Trash thrown from vehicles A A A S A V R R V L L Rusty or unattractive rail overpasses F V V A V FV V L V Inappropriate and insensitive display of merchandise A A A A A A A R R A R E Non-enforcement of existing ordinances A A A A A A R R R R R R R R Signage Number and clustering of signs (too many) A A A A A A R R R R R R R R R E E R R R Dated or abandoned/poorly maintained signs A A A A A A R R R R R R R R E E R Inappropriate, oversized, poorly lighted signs A A A A A A R R R R R R R R E E R Sign colors A A A A A A R R R R R R R R E E R Sign consistency A A A A A A R R R R R R R R E E R Sign shapes A A A A A A R R R R R R R R E E R Sign borders A A A A A A R R R R R R R R E E R Sign materials A A A A A A R R R R R R R R E E R Confusing messages A A A A A A R R R R R R R R E E R Improper placement A A A A A A R R R R R R R R E E R Lack of recognition and directional signage A A A A A A R R R R R R R R E E R Overly numerous, over sized and poorly placed billboards A A A A A A R R R R R R R R E E R A = Advocacy/community support E = Education support F = Funding support L = Project labor R = Regulatory requirements T = Technical support V = Volunteer labor Page 6 Table 1 - Achieving Results Public/Governmental Efforts Organization & sponsorship of topical seminars Grant writing assistance to local & county gov. Technical assistance to local & county gov. Design of Tribal communities & facilities Coastal Zone Management Programs Maintenance of tribal communities Department of Environmental Quality Land & Water Conservation Fund National Endowment For The Arts Enhancement Grant Programs Department of Natural Resources Natural Resources Trust Fund Two percent grant programs Department of Transportation Multi-County - Regional Problem Issue/Work Topics Department of Corrections Improved Maintenance State Representatives Solid Waste Planning Councils of Government National Park Service U. S. Forrest Service Forrestry Division History Division Secretary of State State Senators Parks Division Work crews Licensing State Police Legislature Congress Federal Courts Tribal State Blight, Junk/other Property Maintenance Issues Deteriorated/abandoned buildings T R F F F R V Junk cars T T T T F F F V Scrap metal and other debris T F V Unkept houses, buildings and landscape T F F F V Coordination of garbage pickup/collection sites T Maintenance of highway right-of-way Dead animals along roadway L Hillside/road cut erosion FL F L Debris from logging and similar trucks L L R Sand removal from winter maintenance L L Damaged curbs from snow removal FL F Trash thrown from vehicles L L Rusty or unattractive rail overpasses F F L Inappropriate and insensitive display of merchandise E R Non-enforcement of existing ordinances E R R Signage Number and clustering of signs (too many) E R R F R F R Dated or abandoned/poorly maintained signs E R R F R F R Inappropriate, oversized, poorly lighted signs E R R F R F R Sign colors E R R F R F R Sign consistency E R R F R F R Sign shapes E R R F R F R Sign borders E R R F R F R Sign materials E R R F R F R Confusing messages E R R F Improper placement E R R F Lack of recognition and directional signage E R R F Overly numerous, over sized and poorly placed billboards E R R F A = Advocacy/community support E = Education support F = Funding support L = Project labor R = Regulatory requirements T = Technical support V = Volunteer labor Page 7 Table 1 - Achieving Results Private/Community Efforts Public/Governmental Efforts Duty to maintain propertry provisions Tourism & Recreation Promotion Organization Governing Council, Commission or Board Local - Regional - State - Federal Community Beautification Organizations Improved maintenance proceedures Comprehensive plan provisions Industrial Development Organizations Zoning Ordinance & Enforcement Capital Improvement Program Local, State, National Foundations Community Education Program Scenic Michigan - Scenic America County Planning Commissions Roadway Littering Ordinance Park Board or Commission Public Works, Engineering Environmental Organizations County Zoning Ordinance Junk car provisions Park Boards & Commissions Blight & Junk Ordinances Landscape Ordinance Cities - Villages - Townships Master Gardner Program Master Planner Program Problem Issue/Work Topics Erosion control projects Adopt-a-road programs Sidewalk Ordinance Planning Commission Chamber of Commerce Grass Ordinance Blight Ordinance Sign Ordinance Police Department County Commissions Roadside projects Conservation District Road Commissions Sherifs Department Fire Department Historical Societies Timber Companies Trail Organizations Jail work crews Utility Companies Day of Caring Road Patrols MSU Extension Conservancies Service Clubs Garden Clubs DDA - TIF United Way Railroads Courts County Local Lighting Inadequate A A A A A F FA FA R F R R F F R E E Unattractive lighting fixtures A A A FA FA F FA FA F R E F F E E No decorative/holiday lighting F A A A FA FA F FA FA F E F F FV F E E L Light pollution A A A A A F FA FA R R F R R F F R E E Utility Lines Pervasive/unattractive F A A A A A A F A FR FR R F R F FL R R R F E E Block/detract views F A A A A A A F A FR FR R F R F FL R R R F E E Sidewalks, bike lanes, trails F Lack of - None in existence F A A A A A FA F F R R F F R R F LF Poor placement relative to highway A A A A A T F F R R F F R R F LF Lack continuity and systematic layout A A A A A T F F R R F F R R F LF Lack maintenance A A A A A V F F R F F R R F LF Sand removal from winter buildup A A A A A V F F R F F R F LF Cracks A A A A A F F R F F R F LF Vegetation growing within A A A A A V F F R F F R F LF Width A A A A A A F F R R F F R R F LF Landscaping Bland, unattractive, undefined community entrances F V A FA VA FA V A F F R F R F F F R AF E E E L Overly aggressive r/w clearing F A A A A A V A R F R F F F R L AF E E E E L Lack of vegetation along corridor F AV A A VA FA V A F F R R F R F F F R R V AF E E E FE L Lack of buffers and screening of unsightly properties F AV A FA VA FA V A F F R R R F R F F F R R V AF E E E FE L Overgrown blocking views and vistas F AV A A VA FA V A F F R R R F R F F F R R V AF E E E FE L Other Issues Excessive curb cuts R R R F R R R F R R R R E E E Community Awareness Activities F AF AF AF AF AF A AF AF AF AF A AF F AF E R F F E E E Preservation/enhancement of historic sites F AF AF AF AF AF AF AF AF AF AF E R F F E E E Project funding F AF AF AF AF AF AF AF AF AF R F F E E E A = Advocacy/community support E = Education support F = Funding support L = Project labor R = Regulatory requirements T = Technical support V = Volunteer labor Page 8 Table 1 - Achieving Results Public/Governmental Efforts Organization & sponsorship of topical seminars Grant writing assistance to local & county gov. Technical assistance to local & county gov. Design of Tribal communities & facilities Coastal Zone Management Programs Maintenance of tribal communities Department of Environmental Quality Land & Water Conservation Fund National Endowment For The Arts Enhancement Grant Programs Department of Natural Resources Natural Resources Trust Fund Two percent grant programs Department of Transportation Multi-County - Regional Problem Issue/Work Topics Department of Corrections Improved Maintenance State Representatives Solid Waste Planning Councils of Government National Park Service U. S. Forrest Service Forrestry Division History Division Secretary of State State Senators Parks Division Work crews Licensing State Police Legislature Congress Federal Courts Tribal State Lighting / Inadequate T E F F F Unattractive lighting fixtures T E F F F No decorative/holiday lighting T E F F F L Light pollution T E F F Utility Lines Pervasive/unattractive F F F F Block/detract views F F F F Sidewalks, bike lanes, trails Lack of - None in existence T T E F F F F F L Poor placement relative to highway T T E F F F F F L Lack continuity and systematic layout T T E F F F F F L Lack maintenance T T E F F F FL L Sand removal from winter buildup T T E F F F FL L Cracks T T E F F F FL L Vegetation growing within T T E F F F FL L Width T T E F F F FL L Landscaping Bland, unattractive, undefined community entrances T E F F F T L T T Overly aggressive r/w clearing T E F L T L T T Lack of vegetation along corridor T E F F F T L T T Lack of buffers and screening of unsightly properties T E F F F T L T T Overgrown blocking views and vistas T E F F F F T L T T Other Issues Excessive curb cuts T T E F R L F A Community Awareness Activities T T E F F F F F F A A F F F Preservation/enhancement of historic sites T T E F F F F F F F F F F F A A F F Project funding T T E F F F F F F F A A F A = Advocacy/community support E = Education support F = Funding support L = Project labor R = Regulatory requirements T = Technical support V = Volunteer labor Page 9 US-2/M-134 Visual Enhancement Planning T. Technical support is assistance which is available from professionals or perhaps qualified amateurs that have the technical expertise to envision, devise and implement preservation/restoration projects. They may typically be the staff or retired staff of various businesses or governmental agencies that due to their position or situation are able to offer their time and services to lead project implementation activities. V. Volunteer labor may come from a variety of individual or community groups such as those that participate in adopt-a-road programs, beautification committees or Day of Giving efforts. While the issues raised in each community were diverse and our suggested improvements are specific to each conceptual design, two things become clear about corridor-wide visual enhancement. The first step in corridor enhancement is removing things that clearly detract from corridor aesthetics and assuring they do not reappear. Two issues that were regularly mentioned in every community meeting that fall under this “removal” category are junk or blight and signage. We will address these issues specifically in the following pages. Other items that fall in the “removal” category and were mentioned include utility lines, unattractive street lighting and roadside debris often including waste from snowplowing. The second step in corridor enhancement is adding things that add to corridor appeal. The issues most commonly mentioned during community meetings were landscaping, appropriate and attractive lighting, sidewalks or other non-motorized pathways, directional or recognition signage and driveway/curb cut reduction. We discuss how to implement some of these enhancements. Finally, most enhancement projects in this second category require funding. Therefore, in the final chapter, we detail available funding sources at the federal, state and local level. Removing Problems along the Corridor The first issue to address in beautifying corridors is removal of things that obviously detract from corridor appearance. Clearly, derelict structures, junk, trash and inappropriate signage make towns unappealing to visitors. Additionally, any large expenditure to beautify a corridor is wasted if things like junk or excessive signage remain. It is also appropriate to deal with these issues first as they do not always require a source of new funds, only a collection and expression of community will. Zoning When there is a sufficient community will to enact and enforce adequate and workable regulatory laws such as zoning, blight and sign ordinances, much can be done in this manner to remove things that mar the visual landscape. Such laws can regulate and/or require signage, night lighting, landscaping, maintenance of property, land use, etc. Zoning ordinance provisions often take time to result in meaningful improvements particularly in slow growing communities where grand fathering may allow existing situations to continue for many years. Change does eventually come, however, after the years pass. Page 10 US-2/M-134 Visual Enhancement Planning We performed a cursory review of select zoning ordinances currently in place in the various communities along the U.S.2 corridor. This review reveals several interesting facts. It appears that many of the communities have adopted a zoning ordinance, however many of the ordinances have been in place for twenty to thirty years and are seldom amended. Generally speaking, they seldom have meaningful sections that would contribute to the maintenance/enhancement of the visual appearance of the highway corridor. Sign ordinances, while in place in some communities, are either outdated or not restrictive enough. Overlay zoning, often used to deal with specific community assets without redefining zoning districts, is not used. Blight, junk and landscape provisions are weak or non-existent. Blight Blight can be described as conditions “which cause a reduction of, or lack of, proper utilization of the area to such an extent that it constitutes a serious physical, social, or economic burden on the community which cannot reasonably be expected to be reversed or alleviated by private enterprise acting alone.” (from Blight Control Ordinance, Williams Charter Township, Bay County, MI). While not pervasive along the US-2 study corridor, blight remains a significant issue. Derelict sign structures, unused and unsafe buildings and junk cars and appliances were found in numerous locations. These issues and others falling into the blight category can be addressed through a properly structured and enforced blight or (in the case of derelict sign structures) sign ordinance. Provisions within the ordinance to address junk cars, appliances and other junk typically contain language similar to the following: No motor vehicle shall be kept, parked or stored in any district for residential use, unless it shall be in operating condition and properly licensed, or kept inside a building. The purpose of this provision is to prevent the accumulation of junk motor vehicles, and therefore it shall not apply to any motor vehicle ordinarily used, but temporarily out of running condition. If a motor vehicle is being kept for actual use, but is temporarily unlicensed, the Zoning Administrator may grant the owner a reasonable time, not to exceed six (6) months, to procure such license. Likewise, no old, rusty and unsightly machinery, machines not suited for use upon the premises, or quantities of old and used building materials shall be kept or stored outside a building provided, however, that building materials fit to be used to improve the premises may be kept on site for one (1) year if they are piled off the ground so as not to become a rat and rodent harbor. Source: Acme Township, MI, Ordinance Model ordinances are available from the Michigan Townships Association, the Michigan Municipal League and Scenic Michigan (see Appendix A, Sources of Additional Information). Another innovative way to deal with blight or junk in a community is to have a Community Cleanup Day. Typically, a Community Cleanup Day is scheduled once or twice per year in the Spring and/or Fall. People residing in the jurisdiction sponsoring the cleanup can bring junk of all types – appliances, lawn mowers, cars parts, etc. – to one place for disposal. The local unit of government Page 11 US-2/M-134 Visual Enhancement Planning contracts with a waste hauler to provide roll-offs and disposal. Alternatively, some communities may offer similar curbside service. This activity is typically paid for out of local government funds. Two other issues mentioned during the community meeting that could be considered blight-related were property maintenance and vacant lots. These issues can also be addresses through zoning ordinance provisions. A “Duty to maintain property” provision within the ordinance can spell out what type of property maintenance is necessary. Typical “Duty to Maintain Property” language for a zoning ordinance reads as follows: The owner or occupant of all land, structures and parts thereof, shall have the duty to maintain the same in a clean and sanitary condition free from any accumulation of dirt, filth, rubbish, garbage, junk, vermin and other duty not to act or omit to act so as to create or permit the existence of a nuisance as defined in this Chapter. This duty shall extend to any area of land between the lot line and adjoining streets and curbs. Source: City of Charlevoix, MI, Ordinance Some towns have enacted ordinances that specifically address maintenance of yards and landscaping, spelling out how long grass can be allowed to grow, etc. However, these can be seen as overly intrusive and this issue may be best addressed simply from neighbor and community pressure. Lastly, in association with the blight and maintenance issue, the question of enforcement was raised. An ordinance is useless if it is not enforced and the variance requests properly reviewed. Properly written ordinances spell out enforcement responsibilities and it is up to the local governing body and their appointed officials to see that they are carried out. In some cases, the addition of a civil infraction ordinance helps communities enforce existing ordinances by allowing the local governing authority to secure liens against a property and lowering the burden of proof for violations. Signage The issue of signage was raised a number of times during the community meetings. The field observations indicate that this is clearly an issue especially along many of the commercial corridors and approaches to study communities. Specifically, in Ironwood, Escanaba and several other towns, otherwise beautiful stretches of highway approach are marred with oversized and improperly spaced advertising signage. It should be remembered, that the approach is a visitor’s first visual impression of a community, and first impressions last. In addition to the approaches, signage along the commercial corridors throughout the study area is inconsistent in size, number, height, type, color, lighting and setback creating a chaotic, confusing and potentially dangerous visual for the traveler. The abundance of advertising sign clutter limits the effectiveness of any directional or recognition signage and contributes to traffic and safety problems. The first steps in addressing the issue of signage are to inventory the existing signs along the study corridor, gather public input and craft a practical, understandable and enforceable sign ordinance. This ensures that new developments and signage are consistent with the community’s goals. A sign ordinance should specify appropriate number, size, height, face area, type, color, materials, illumination, landscaping and setback of all newly erected signs within each type of district. The Page 12 US-2/M-134 Visual Enhancement Planning ordinance should clearly articulate the community’s goals in establishing the ordinance and meshwith goals articulated in the community’s comprehensive plan. Typical regulations in communities which have been successful in controlling signs are: 1. One free standing sign face size of thirty two (32) to (40) sq. ft. per business. 2. A free standing sign height of twenty feet. 3. A free standing sign setback from the highway right-of-way of ten feet. 4. Wall and window signage not to exceed twenty percent of the area of a building facade 5. Provisions for a “center sign” where multiple businesses and or buildings are identified. 6. Limitation of content to land use identification and not advertising. 7. Highway advertising regulations which restrict such signs from the corridor, or limit them to small appropriate districts, provide for significant spacing between signs, and limit their sign face size 8. Prohibition of banners, pennants, inflatable devices and other such signs which are designed to attract attention and not simply identify a business location. These, it should be noted, are not the most restrictive provisions which a community may adopt. Model ordinances are available from the Michigan Townships Association, the Michigan Municipal League and Scenic Michigan (see Appendix A). Adding to the Corridor Landscaping Most of the conceptual designs highlight some added landscape features. Trees, shrubs and other greenery as well as berms and mounds can serve many purposes along a corridor. They can be used to soften views, screen unwanted views and reduce the impacts from sound and light on the motorist. They can also be used as focal points and attractive backdrops for community entrance signs. The addition of landscaping can be accomplished in different ways. Many communities establish beautification committees to coordinate community landscaping. These are usually voluntary efforts that attempt to get business owners and other corridor property owners to take an interest in landscaping their properties. Other times, community beautification or garden clubs will undertake specific projects such as landscaping at the town entrance or an important community attraction. In some cases, these voluntary efforts are supplemented with funding from the local government. In addition to voluntary/community efforts, landscaping should be addressed in regulatory language as well. The community’s master plan should establish policies and guidelines with respect to landscaping and layout the goals for having landscape requirements. Landscaping requirements should be included in the zoning ordinance and administered during a site plan review process for new developments. For corridors, the ordinance should: • specify landscape requirements along the roadways and at major intersections Page 13 US-2/M-134 Visual Enhancement Planning • provide landscape requirements for the sides and fronts of buildings visible along the corridor • address the issue of snow storage and removal • require landscaping that minimizes glare and light issues for the traveler and reduces noise for those alongside the roadway • Require street trees along all highway frontages. • Require parking lot landscaping that will provide summer shade for parked vehicles, screen cars from users of adjacent public right-of-ways and provide a green buffer between buildings and parking areas. • Require screening of unsightly areas such as dumpsters, outside storage, etc. • Require specific landscape treatment for the location and design of outdoor merchandise display areas such as those used for display of motor vehicles. • Require watering sources for all landscape areas. • Require appropriate design and landscaping of water retention/detention areas. Sidewalks and Non-motorized Ways Another often-mentioned issue during the community meetings was the lack of sidewalks and sidewalk connectivity. Sidewalks can be added during large roadway enhancement projects but should also be addressed in the zoning ordinance. Making sidewalks part of any improvement or new development will at least start the process. Hopefully, as new walks are added, completing an entire system becomes easier as the idea gains momentum. Typical language to address sidewalks found within an ordinance should include: Sidewalks/Non-motorized ways: Pedestrian sidewalks or non-motorized ways shall be constructed to provide pedestrian access along highways ___________ and other areas as may be designated by the unit of government, at such a time as any adjacent parcel is improved either by new construction or improvement to an existing land use. Sidewalks shall be provided in the _________________ Districts and in planned developments in residential districts. In planned developments interior sidewalks or other non-motorized ways available to the public, may be substituted for the provision of this requirement if such substitution is approved by the __________ as a part of the site plan. The upgrading or improvement of an existing land use shall not require the construction of a pedestrian sidewalk should the cost of the sidewalk exceed twenty percent (20%) of the construction or improvement cost. Sidewalk cost shall be based on a fixed amount of $3.00 /sq. foot or a bid price submitted by the property owner from a qualified contractor verifiable by the Zoning Administrator. In the event consecutive improvements are made to the property within a three (3) year time period, the cumulative total cost of the separate improvements shall be considered when determining the need for such sidewalk construction. Page 14 US-2/M-134 Visual Enhancement Planning Sidewalk construction shall meet the following requirements: 1. Sidewalk construction shall meet the current construction specifications of the Michigan Department of Transportation. 2. Sidewalk shall extend across the entire frontage of the property ownership. 3. Sidewalk shall be located whenever possible within the highway right-of- way, however, may be located on private property to avoid obstructions as part of a designated bike path, and shall be located so as to insure connection and continuity with existing or future walks or bike paths on adjoining properties. 4. When required, permits must be obtained from the Michigan Department of Transportation. 5. Sidewalk maintenance including replacement in the case of inadequate construction as determined by the Zoning Administrator shall be the responsibility of the adjacent parcel owner. 6. Sidewalk construction shall be in essential compliance with the Non- motorized Facility Plan. Source: City of Charlevoix, Ordinance Lighting Street lighting was mentioned often during community meetings and is incorporated in many of the conceptual designs. Street lighting, in both form and function, has significant impacts on corridor appeal. Poor lighting can make driving difficult and distracting. In addition, unappealing street lights can detract from a corridors aesthetic appeal. Lighting is best addressed through a community’s zoning ordinance. Among other things, the ordinance should specify the type, architectural style, wattage, height, placement and spacing of lighting along the corridor for different zones. These issues should all be incorporated into the site plan review process. Managing Access Traffic and the number of roadway access points were issues mentioned several times during the community meetings and obvious from field analysis. There are a number of ways to improve traffic flow, safety and access. Access management is: “a set of proven techniques that can help reduce traffic congestion, preserve the flow of traffic, improve traffic safety, prevent crashes, preserve existing road capacity and preserve investment in roads by managing the location, design and type of access to property.” Access management techniques can include • Driveway consolidation • Driveway alterations • Signage treatments/Restricting turns • Avoid additional curb cuts • Front and rear access Page 15 US-2/M-134 Visual Enhancement Planning • Improved local street connections • Medians Source: Michigan Department of Transportation, Reducing Traffic Congestion and Improving Traffic Safety in Michigan Communities: The Access Management Guidebook, October 2001. A detailed description of access management techniques, benefits and implementation is beyond the scope of this plan. For details, please consult the MDOT guidebook referenced above. Page 16 US-2/M-134 Visual Enhancement Planning Funding Enhancements A variety of potential sources of funding are available for the implementation of visual enhancement projects. Funding may come from a broad array of organizations at the local, state and federal level. In some cases, federal dollars are administered by state agencies. In other cases, applications can be made directly to federal programs. Federal Funding Sources (may be passed through and administered by state) Federal Transportation Enhancement Funding In 1991, the passage of ISTEA (Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act) mandated that every state must reserve 10 percent of surface transportation funds for enhancement activities. This act was reauthorized in 1998 through 2003 with the passage of TEA-21 (Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century). This act expires on September 30, 2003. The Bush Administration has proposed reauthorization with the Safe, Accountable, Flexible, and Efficient Transportation Equity Act of 2003 (SAFETEA), however, this has not been passed by congress. These acts work to fund enhancement through taxes on motor fuel and vehicles which are placed in the Highway Trust Fund. These funds are distributed to the states through the Federal Highway Program. 10% of the state's surface transportation funds are reserved for enhancement activities Federal Eligibility To be eligible for Transportation Enhancement Funding, projects must meet several criteria. They must relate in some way to transportation. They must provide for public access and fit one or more of 12 enhancement activities: 1. Pedestrian and bicycle facilities 2. Pedestrian and bicycle safety and education activities 3. Acquisition of scenic or historic easements and sites 4. Scenic or historic highways programs including tourist and welcome centers 5. Landscaping and scenic beautification 6. Historic preservation 7. Rehabilitation and operation of historic transportation buildings, structures or facilities 8. Conversion of abandoned railway corridors to trails 9. Control and removal of outdoor advertising 10. Archaeological planning and research 11. Environmental mitigation of runoff pollution and provisions of wildlife connectivity 12. Establishment of transportation museums Michigan Eligibility To qualify for enhancement funding in Michigan, the project must have a sponsor. The applicant must be a governmental unit that receives fuel tax revenues such as cities, villages, road commissions, public transit agencies, or MDOT. Also, the project must meet at least one of the following qualifications: • Must be on or next to a highway, street or road that is eligible for federal aid • Must be a historic facility or a historic site that is significant to transportation but has current transportation use Page 17 US-2/M-134 Visual Enhancement Planning • Must provide a service related to transportation • Must fit within the same types of activities as the federal program(above) except does not include: a. Pedestrian and bicycle safety activities and education b. Transportation museums Regional Contact: Adrian Stroupe, Regional Planner MDOT-Superior Region 1818 3rd Avenue North Escanaba, MI 49829 (906) 786-1800 State Contacts: Amber Thelen firstname.lastname@example.org 517.241.1456 Jessica Pierce email@example.com 517.241.0185 Michigan Department of Transportation Transportation Economic Development and Enhancement Office 425 West Ottawa - P.O. Box 30050 Lansing, MI 48909 National Scenic Byways Grant Program A program of the Federal Highway Administration, National Scenic Byway funds are available through a grant application process to undertake eligible projects associated with designated National Scenic Byways, all-American Roads or state designated byways. In Michigan, scenic byways projects coordinator is the Michigan Heritage Route Program through MDOT: Pete Hanses Heritage Route Program Manager Michigan Department of Transportation-Transportation Planning Division 425 W. Ottowa Lansing, MI 48909 Voice: 517-335-2934 Fax: 517-373-9255 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org The following is a list of byways projects funded in Michigan through 2002 Page 18 US-2/M-134 Visual Enhancement Planning Michigan 1998 SB-1998-MI-1 $72,000.00 Corridor Management Plan 1998 SB-1998-MI-2 $80,800.00 Statewide Planning, Coordination & Administration of Byway Program 2000 SB-2000-MI-2 $5,695.00 M-15 Heritage Route Railway Feasibility Study 2000 SB-2000-MI-3 $114,000.00 Development of the Michigan State Scenic Byway Program 2000 SB-2000-MI-5 $40,000.00 Southeast Michigan's Main Street Marketing Plan for Woodward Avenue 2001 SB-2001-MI-1 $311,074.00 Copper Country Bike Facility: Phoenix, MI to Delaware, MI 2001 SB-2001-MI-2 $168,000.00 Cass River Bridge Aesthetic Enhancement (Vassar, MI) 2001 SB-2001-MI-3 $35,000.00 Copper Country Corridor Management Plan 2001 SB-2001-MI-4 $268,000.00 Southeast Michigan's Main Street Marketing Plan for Woodward Avenue/Phase II Implementation 2002 SB-2002-MI-3 $44,400.00 Leelanau Heritage Route CMP Implementation 2002 SB-2002-MI-4 $536,000.00 Southeast Michigan's Main Street Marketing for Woodward Avenue - Phase III Implementation Total for Michigan $1,674,969.00 Public Lands Highways Program This program provides federal funding to improve access to and within federal lands. Funds are available for "any kind of transportation project eligible for assistance under Title 23, United States Code, that is within, adjacent to, or provides access to the areas (Federal lands) served by the public lands highway." A public lands highway means a forest road or any highway through unappropriated or unreserved public lands, nontaxable Indian lands, or other Federal reservations under the jurisdiction of and maintained by a public authority and open to public travel. Interpretive signs, rest areas, visitor centers, bicycle and pedestrian projects are eligible for this grant program. The next call for projects is subject to the reauthorization of the federal Transportation Efficiency Act (TEA-21). Source: National Transportation Enhancement Clearinghouse Website, www.enhancements.org, September 2003 State Funding Sources Transportation Economic Development Fund The Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) administers an Office of Economic Development that manages several types of Economic Development programs under the Transportation Economic Development Fund. Grant programs A, C, D, E, and F (B discontinued) are briefly described as follows: Category A grants are targeted at specific industries, namely, Agriculture and Food Processing; Tourism; Forestry; High Technology Research; Manufacturing; Mining; and Office Centers of at least 50,000 square feet. Category C grants are aimed at reducing congestion on county primary and city major streets within urban counties including advanced traffic management systems. Category D grants seek to fund projects that complement the state trunkline system in rural areas, and Category E grants seek to create and improve forest roads. Category F grants are dedicated for road improvement for urbanized areas in rural counties. Page 19 US-2/M-134 Visual Enhancement Planning Source: Citizens Research Council of Michigan, Website, Last Revised on 05/09/01 Contact Information for Transportation Economic Development Fund: Administrator: Jacqueline G. Shinn Contact: Denise Curl Phone: 517-335-1069 E-mail: email@example.com Website: www.mich.gov/mdot Program Administration Section Michael Kapp, Manager 517-373-2666 Deanna Finch, Systems Coordinator 517-241-4778 Project Development Section Alicia Evans Suber, Project Dev. Manager 517-373-2752 Michael Leon, Economic Dev. Spec. 517-241-2568 Aesthetic Project Opportunities Inventory Several of the programs we have discussed in this section are administered by the Michigan Department of Transportation(MDOT). These include the Transportation Enhancements and Heritage Route Program and the Transportation Economic Development Fund. In order to enhance the effectiveness of the Enhancements Program and the Heritage Route Program, MDOT undertook an Aesthetic Project Opportunities Inventory(APOI) in 2000. The purpose of this program was to identify aesthetic project opportunities along state trunklines and ensure the best and most coordinated use of funds. The APOI identified many project opportunities along the US-2 corridor. Many of these project opportunities are located within the 6 communities and stretches of US-2 corridor that received planning assistance under this project. Also, many of the aesthetic opportunities identified during MDOT’s inventory include many of the same treatments depicted in the conceptual designs presented within this plan. As MDOT may be a significant source of funds, this congruence is important to note. Page 20 US-2/M-134 Visual Enhancement Planning Community Development Block Grant (State Administered) (the following text is taken directly from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Website, www.hud.gov) Program Objectives The primary statutory objective of the CDBG program is to develop viable communities by providing decent housing and a suitable living environment and by expanding economic opportunities, principally for persons of low- and moderate-income. The State must ensure that at least 70 percent of its CDBG grant funds are used for activities that benefit low- and moderate-income persons over a one-, two-, or three-year time period selected by the State This general objective is achieved by granting "maximum feasible priority" to activities which benefit low- and moderate-income families or aid in the prevention or elimination of slums or blight. Under unique circumstances, States may also use their funds to meet urgent community development needs. A need is considered urgent if it poses a serious and immediate threat to the health or welfare of the community and has arisen in the past 18 months. Eligible Activities Communities receiving CDBG funds from the State may use the funds for many kinds of community development activities including, but not limited to: • acquisition of property for public purposes; • construction or reconstruction of streets, water and sewer facilities, neighborhood centers, recreation facilities, and other public works; • demolition; • rehabilitation of public and private buildings; • public services; • planning activities; • assistance to nonprofit entities for community development activities; and • assistance to private, for profit entities to carry out economic development activities (including assistance to micro-enterprises). State Contact: Mr. William Parker, Coordinator Housing Development Authority P.O. Box 30044 Lansing, MI 48909-7544 Phone: 517-373-1462 Fax: 517-335-4797 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Michigan CDBG business incentives: 517-373-6213 Michigan CDBG housing resources: 517-373-1462 Page 21 US-2/M-134 Visual Enhancement Planning State Infrastructure Bank The State Infrastructure Bank has low interest loans for transportation improvements. The program is administered through the Office of Transportation Economic Development and Enhancement. State Contact: Michigan Department of Transportation Transportation Economic Development and Enhancement Office 425 West Ottawa - P.O. Box 30050 Lansing, MI 48909 Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund The Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund (MNRTF) has been in place since 1976. It provides financial assistance to local governments and the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) to purchase lands for outdoor recreation and/or the protection of natural resources and open space. It also assists in the appropriate development of land for public outdoor recreation. Criteria Applications are evaluated on established criteria such as resource protection, water access, and project need. At least 25 percent match on either acquisition or development projects is required from local government applicants. Recommendations are made by the Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund Board (members are appointed by the Governor) to the State Legislature for final approval. Criteria are spelled out in the "Recreation Grants Selection Process" booklet given to all applicants. There are eleven evaluation criteria: 1. Protection and use of significant natural resources. 2. Use of inland waters. 3. Population served. 4. Economic benefits. 5. Hunting, fishing and other wildlife-related values. 6. Need for proposal. 7. Applicant history. 8. Site and project quality. 9. Special Initiatives of the MNRTF Board (See below). 10. Financial need of the applicant. 11. Local match contribution. There are at times special circumstances that factor into grant evaluation. Currently, the 2003 Special Initiatives of the Board are: 1. Acquisition or development of railways that contribute to an overall State trail system. 2. Acquisition of lands open to hunting or development of hunting-related facilities, such as shooting ranges. 3. Acquisition of lands that provide for deer habitat with thermal cover. Page 22 US-2/M-134 Visual Enhancement Planning 4. Local shooting ranges or State/local shooting range partnerships. 5. Acquisition projects that create, establish and protect wildlife/ecological corridors by connecting to and/or buffering existing protected and managed State or local natural areas, forests or game areas. Eligibility Any local of government, including school districts, or any combination of units in which authority is legally constituted to provide recreation is eligible. Local units of government, school districts and local authorities must have a DNR-approved recreation plan to be eligible. Contact Jim Wood Grants, Contracts and Customer Systems Michigan Dept. of Natural Resources (517-241-2480) email@example.com. Source: DNR Website, Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund Section, September 2003 Local Funding Sources and Economic Development Tools Obviously, funding for enhancement projects can come from local sources. Discretionary outlays from the city, township or county budget have been used for planning and implementation. In addition, public bonds or private foundation funding can be used. Lastly, in some cases, fees tied to development, such as traffic impact fees or assessments, have been pooled and used to fund corridor enhancements. Economic Development Tools There are a number of economic development tools available to communities to encourage and fund development and improvements in specific community areas. The following table compiled by Page 23 US-2/M-134 Visual Enhancement Planning the Michigan Municipal League describes some of these tools: Table 2 Summary of Economic Development Tools DDAs TIFAs LDFAs BRAs EDCs PSDs BIDs Authorized Cities, Cities Cities, Cities, Cities, Cities with One or municipalities villages and villages villages and villages and designated more townships and urban townships townships principal cities with townships shopping an urban district(s) design plan Limitations One per No new One per Industrial or Industrial Commercial Commercial municipality areas municipality commercial area area with or industrial established property at least 10 area with after 1989 retail boundaries businesses established by city resolution Requirements Deteriorating Deteriorating Industrial Enviro- Industrial or Designated Designated property property area nmental 501(c)(3) as a principal as a BID by values values contamination nonprofit in shopping one or more master plan area cities by resolution Eligible Located in Within Public Enviro- Issue bonds Improve Improvement projects DDA district defined facility nmental for private highways of highways with TIFA area to benefit cleanup industrial and walk- and walk- approved industrial development ways; ways; DDA/TIF park promotion; promotion; plans parking, parking, maintenance, maintenance, security or security or operation operation Funding TIF from TIF from TIF on TIF; Revenue Tax exempt Bonds, Bonds, sources District; plan area eligible Bonds bonds special special property assessments assessments, gifts, grants, city funds, other Notes: BIDs – Business Improvement Districts; DDAs – Downtown Development Authorities; PSDs – Principal Shopping Districts; BRAs – Brownfield Redevelopment Districts; LDFAs – Local Development Finance Authorities. For a summary comparison of these and Economic Development Corporations (EDCs) and Tax Increment Finance Districts (TIFAs), see the Michigan Municipal Leagues’s Economic Development Tools, June 2000. Source: Michigan Municipal League. Economic Development Tool. Ann Arbor, MI: Michigan Municipal League, Page 24 Appendix A Additional Information Sources of Additional Information There are numerous sources of information concerning visual enhancement and corridor aesthetics. Many organizations offer publications and websites with extensive resources to help communities plan for and fund enhancement projects. They offer tips on developing community support and involvement in enhancement activities and assistance with developing regulatory guidance and sample language. This appendix will list and briefly describe some of the more prominent organizations and resources. Organizations with Additional Information National American Planning Association, www.planning.org Scenic America, www.scenic.org The Trust for Public Land Federal Highway Administration (Context Sensitive Design), www.fhwa.dot.gov/csd/index.htm The Surface Transportation Policy Project, www.transact.org National Transportation Enhancements Clearinghouse, www.enhancements.org National Council of State Garden Clubs Inc., www.gardenclub.org The Nature Conservancy, www.nature.org National Scenic Byways Clearinghouse, www.byways.org National Trust for Historic Preservation, www.nationaltrust.org Michigan Scenic Michigan, www.scenicmichigan.org Michigan Association of Regions, www.miregions.org Michigan Society of Planning, www.planningmi.org Michigan Township Association, mta-townships.org Michigan Municipal League www.mml.org Michigan Department of Transportation, www.mich.gov/mdot Important Publications Communities Benefit! The Social and Economic Benefits of Transportation Enhancements, National Transportation Enhancements Clearinghouse A Guide to Transportation Enhancements, National Transportation Enhancements Clearinghouse Land Use Tools and Techniques, A Handbook for Local Communities, SEMCOG, March 2003 Community Guide to Corridor Management Planning for Scenic Byways, USDOT, FHWA. Preparing Corridor Management Plans: A Scenic Byways Guidebook, USDOT, FHWA.
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