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Historic Barns Park Open House set for Saturday, October 5

TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. – September 26, 2013 – Curious about all the work going on around those big old barns at the Grand Traverse Commons?

A behind-the-scenes look at the ongoing redevelopment of Historic Barns Park will be held on Saturday, October 5 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Open to the public, the free “Walk in the Park” Open House is a great opportunity to learn more about park projects and activities.

Once the agricultural area for the former Traverse City State Hospital, Historic Barns Park is being redeveloped into a unique multi-use public park that includes space for agriculture, horticulture, recreation, education and community events.

The 56-acre park is owned and managed by the joint Traverse City/Garfield Township Recreational Authority, with management and programming assistance from two community nonprofit organizations, the Botanic Garden at Historic Barns Park and SEEDS. The park is also home to a large community garden. Docents and representatives from park programs will be on hand throughout the event to give tours and answer questions. Maps and directions for self-guided tours will also be available. Specific programming includes:

10:30 a.m. – Welcoming remarks and brief park overview, Traverse City/Garfield Township Recreational Authority
11:00 a.m. – Agricultural overview, SEEDS
11:15 a.m. – Community Garden overview

Years of planning and fundraising led to a busy construction season this past spring and summer, including environmental and demolition work on several park buildings, the installation of a geothermal well field to help heat and cool the massive Cathedral Barn, the construction of a new commuter trail across the length of the park, and extensive remodeling of the former farm granary into a new Visitor Center that will be the home base for the Botanic Garden at Historic Barns Park. The “Walk in the Park” will be the first public opportunity for a sneak peek inside the new Visitor Center, which will not officially open until next spring.

“We hope everyone comes out to take a Walk in the Park and help us celebrate the progress being made this year,” said Ross Biederman, chair of the Recreational Authority Board of Directors.

Historic Barns Park sits on the northwest corner of the intersection of Silver Lake Road and Franke Road/Silver Drive. Day-of-event parking is available at the nearby Traverse Bay Area Intermediate School District (TBAISD) on Red Drive, or at Copper Ridge. Shuttles will be available between the park and TBAISD. For more information, visit www.historicbarnspark.com or call 231-929-3696.

Fundraising is ongoing for additional capital improvements to the park. All donations at this time are being matched by another donor, currently doubling every dollar that is pledged to the Historic Barns Park and Botanic Garden campaign. Donations can be made through the Grand Traverse Regional Community Foundation at (231) 935-4066 or http://www.gtrcf.org/give/our-funds.html/75/.

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