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Traverse City's FishPass Decision is delayed until May

traverse city west bay from the east by wjr is licensed with CC BY-NC-ND 2.0. To view a copy of this license, visit

The multi-million dollar FishPass project in Traverse City is delayed until May, at the earliest.

The holdup centers on whether voters need to approve the plan to build a high-tech fish sorting channel in the river.

Residents are entitled to a vote if the project amounts to a loss of park property or serves unrelated purposes, according to city rules.

Circuit Court Judge Thomas Power says he thinks FishPass is basically a research facility.

It may be a great idea, but it is not a park purpose and so I think it transgresses the city charter.

The judge will hear a case in May brought by Traverse City resident Rick Buckhalter.

If he wins the trial, FishPass could be up for a vote in August.

City leaders behind the project say they’re disappointed with the decision, and are ready to move forward as soon as the judicial process is complete.