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Traverse City commissioners vote to appeal FishPass lawsuit

A rendering of the FishPass project from above.
Great Lakes Fishery Commission
A rendering of the FishPass project from above.

On Monday, Traverse City commissioners voted unanimously to appeal a ruling that halted the FishPass project at the Union Street Dam.

Traverse City and the Great Lakes Fishery Commission planned to start constructing FishPass in January. There, experts could research and control the movement of native and invasive species of fish.

But resident Rick Buckhalter sued, arguing the city was overstepping its bounds. He claimed FishPass would repurpose parkland, which cannot be done without a three-fifths vote from the public.

Circuit court judge Thomas Power agreed, leaving the city two options: put it to a vote, or appeal the ruling.

The city’s defense is applying for financial support through the Michigan Municipal League so legal costs do not fall on taxpayers.