Planning for the Future

Exciting changes for Michigan Legacy Art Park are on the horizon.

In the near future, visitors to the Art Park will be greeted with a brand new trailhead, trail to the amphitheater and an expanded learning area at Discovery Grove. These are just some of the ideas that are included in a new master plan developed over the last year. The updates will preserve the rustic and artistic character of the Park while making it easier for more people to access the Park’s cultural and educational programs.

The first major change that the plan sho ws is the addition of a second trail connecting the parking area to the amphitheater and Discovery Grove. The new path will be barrier-free and will meet national accessibility standards accommodating all guests, from guests in wheelchairs to parents pushing strollers. This will give even more people an opportunity to enjoy the Park’s educational programs and performances. The current trail will be kept in place for a more rustic hiking experience.

Plans also call for an expansion of the Discovery Grove area, ultimately creating an outdoor classroom where students can explore Michigan’s culture, history and the environment in the Art Park’s inspiring setting. Like the new trail, the new learning area will meet accessibility standards to ensure that all children have a chance to benefit from an Art Park experience. While improved accessibility was a priority in this plan, the Art Park staff and Board also recognized that the rustic character of the Park needed to be preserved. To help balance these needs, the Park enlisted the services of Mark Johnson, a landscape architect with the Johnson Hill Land Ethics Studio. In September 2012, Johnson led an intensive two-day workshop with Art Park staff, volunteers, board members and supporters to discuss the issues, opportunities, vision and goals of the Art Park. Johnson captured the details of these con versations in hand-drawn sketches and notes.

The planning process drew on the expertise and resources of individuals and groups throughout Michigan. Gordon Berg, a market research professional, volunteered his time and expertise to facilitate two focus groups and provide us with a detailed written report. Input from community members who use and love the Art Park has proven to be invaluable throughout the master plan process. Developing this master plan was suppor ted by a planning grant from Rotary Charities, and the Grand Traverse Regional Community Foundation helped to match this grant through the Access to Recreation Fund.

Many people contributed to this worthy effort and the plan is an exciting document. In the coming months, please stay in touch as we launch a campaign to raise the necessary funds to turn these ideas into reality – opening the Park to more people.

Goals of the Master Plan:

  • To plan a systematic road map for the future development and sustainability of Michigan Legacy Art Park.
  • To enhance the quality of the experience in the Art Park for all current and future visitors by creating
  • a welcoming and distinguised arrival area and making the lower trails barrier-free.

  • To build and maintain the art collection.
  • To further engage the public and school groups through hands-on and exploratory education programs.
Download Master Plan PDF