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Traverse City-area pier scraps plans for cruise ships

GREILICKVILLE, Mich. (AP) — A waterfront project along Lake Michigan is scrapping plans to pursue the cruise ship business.
Discovery Center & Pier previously announced plans to transform a coal dock at Grelickville near Traverse City into a site that ships could use to land passengers.
But CEO Matt McDonough said Tuesday that cruise ships weren’t aligned enough with pier’s mission, the Traverse City Record-Eagle reported.
The organization said its focus is on local partnerships to make improvements that will make the pier better suited for multiple uses.
“Our long-term goal is to transform it into a public park,” McDonough said of the pier. “A destination that is welcoming to the public and a nicer facility for our partners: Inland Seas, the Maritime Heritage Alliance, Tall Ship Manitou, and the new tour boat, the Discovery.”
The pier in 2018 received certification to be a port for cruise ships. Viking River Cruises had already been advertising Great Lakes cruises that would include stops there starting in 2022, but McDonough said those ships won’t be coming to the pier.
“We heard a lot from the community. They had concerns and questions,” he said.
None of the cruise lines that had expressed interest in docking there had ships small enough to tie up to the pier.
The ships instead would need to anchor in Grand Traverse Bay and use smaller boats to carry passengers to shore.
“We have so many other things that we’re trying to accomplish here that it wasn’t something we felt we need to take the lead on,” McDonough said.