Norte’s Annual Civic Center Report

Norte Civic Center Banner

Norte is very proud to call the Civic Center home. It’s a perfect fit, actually. Each year we submit a report to our hosts, the Grand Traverse County Parks and Recreation Commissioners. As we enter our 5th year here at the park, we count them as a cherished partner—thank you! The following is a tally of accomplishments that took place at the Grand Traverse Civic Center last year. 

Highlights from 2020

Clubhouse and Community Bike Shop

  • Provided free access to our community bike shop at the Clubhouse, including sharing our tools, supplies, workbenches, and knowledge to park users. 
  • Provided mobile hand-washing stations to our campers and park users outside of both the Clubhouse and Wheelhouse in response to the pandemic. 
  • This past fall, we hosted daily, safe balance bike meet-ups for preschoolers on the grassy area next to the Clubhouse.
  • Provided 16 bikes to adults in need of reliable transportation as part of the new Essential Transportation program.
  • Continue to maintain and offer a Bike Track made of 48 wooden pieces as a free skills playground open for public use at both the Clubhouse and Wheelhouse.

Educational Programs and Outreach

  • Grew the Grand Traverse Kids’ Bike Library to 270 bikes at the Wheelhouse, allowing young riders to come to the Wheelhouse to check out a free bike for as long as it fits them. 
  • In partnership with Food Rescue, organized the 3rd Annual Cranksgiving Traverse City at the Wheelhouse, a bicycle-powered community food drive that supported 14 local food pantries.
  • In Fall 2020, we launched Norte MeetUps for the Deaf Community, a weekly chance to gather and ride bikes, starting at the Wheelhouse. 
  • Continued to celebrate and organize Winter Walk Wednesday, a weekly celebration of people—young and old—winter walking in the community, focusing on using the well maintained Civic Center path.
  • In partnership with the Traverse City Track Club, hosted a safe #OptOutside meet-up at the Civic Center, which featured running on the new “shadow trail.”
  • Ran the Traverse City Summer Bike Camp from the Wheelhouse, which served 600+ 1st–8th graders who started and finished at the park during the summer. 

Park and Community Engagement

  • Participated in the Civic Center Master Plan process as a partner and stakeholder.
  • Began planning for the Bike Education Center as outlined in the Master Plan. This development will build on the work by Influential Design Forum for the Pump Track + Traffic Garden design, which Norte contributed $2,000 to in 2019.
  • Successfully extended the $7,500 grant we received from People For Bikes in 2019 for the Civic Center’s Education Center. Funds are now to be spent by the end of 2021. 
  • Continued the “Art in the Park” project Lindy Bishop’s “Our Piece of the Peaceable Kingdom” on the south wall and Chase Hunt’s “Stars” mural on the west side of the Wheelhouse.
  • Supported the City of Traverse City in re-scoping the approved $2M Safe Routes To School infrastructure grant, which includes improvements near the park, including a sidewalk on Civic Center Drive, Front & Fair intersection improvements, sidewalks on Fair Street, the improved crosswalk at Garfield & Washington, and a new Fair & 8th crosswalk.
  • Advocated for an in-street pedestrian sign at Garfield & Washington to improve pedestrians’ access and connection to the park.
  • Provided a pop-up bike rack at Woodland School bus stop at the Civic Center this fall to encourage students to “Bike 2 Bus.”

Services Paused Due to COVID Concerns

  • 24–hours at the Civic Center was canceled in May, and we’re aiming to bring a reimagined version in 2021 to grow the friendship base and support for the park.
  • Educational field trips at the Wheelhouse for schools like Eastern Elementary and The Children’s House. 
  • Educational bike mechanics classes for the young and young at heart at the Wheelhouse.
  • The Spring 2020 Open House for the Civic Center’s partners at the Wheelhouse.
  • Learn to ride programs for Oak Park School and TBAISD students.


Here’s to bigger and brighter in 2021 and beyond!

Happy healthy Strong