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Plan to revamp Hickory Hills Ski Area moves forward

Hickory Hills Multi-Season Recreation Master Plan

Traverse City has approved a plan that could bring millions of dollars in upgrades to Hickory Hills Ski Area.

The City Commission adopted the master plan on Monday. Planners say the investment would make the park more financially stable by attracting more guests.

The park ran a budget deficit of $78,816 in the 2012-2013 season, according to the master plan.

Traverse City Manager Jered Ottenwess says not to expect changes right away. 

“The master plan calls for pretty significant investments," Ottenwess says. "And that’s not something that would happen at one time. It’s likely that a plan, a master plan like that would be implemented in phases over several years.”

In the past year, officials weighed public opinion on Hickory Hills through polling and with an open house in February. Ottenwess says this process has created some momentum behind the plan.

“There was really good public participation throughout the master plan process," Ottenwess says. "So it seems like there’s a lot of community support that was generated for the master plan and a lot of energy towards making improvements there.”

The master plan offers two separate visions for the ski area’s future, both costing upwards of $4 million to carry out.

Both call for new ski terrain – and one outlines plans to build a completely new lodge on the site.

View the master plan here.