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Local/Regional News

Traverse City to examine drinking culture with study

Traverse City will be looking at the area's relationship with alcohol consumption in a new study.

The study will examine both local residents and tourists, local officials said the goal is to better understand the drinking culture within the surrounding communities.

"Nothing is cut and dry, nothing is black and white - there’s always these other pieces that we don’t know until you really listen to the businesses, to the consumer and you understand what the vision is for the city," said Jean Derenzy, CEO of Traverse City Downtown Development Authority.

The Downtown Development Authority has been awarded $1,000 in grant funding from Northern Michigan Regional Entity, a group that manages Medicaid funding for behavioral health and substance use disorder services in 21 counties.

Derenzy said she hopes the study will help set a model for other parts of the state.

"The project does not assume our current drinking culture is unhealthy or bad," she said. "It’s rather the project is rooted in the idea that there is always room for improvement and this is an opportunity to identify what is working well within the Traverse City drinking culture. Therefore, what we should be preserving and what can be improved upon."

Derenzy said community outreach will begin next month.

She said this is not an ideal time for the study, with the holidays just ahead, however, the outreach process should last until the spring.