Which Way To Paradise

Do you live in Paradise? How’s it going?
Those are questions we want to explore this fall on IPR News Radio in our series, Which Way to Paradise: Struggle and Promise Up North.

Parts of northern Michigan are booming and we are constantly told Traverse City, in particular, is a top 10 place to live, work, and play. Who is coming here and why? How has the region changed and who's missing out on the boom?

David Cassleman


Throughout this series, we’ve heard from a number of listeners concerned about the cost of housing in northwest lower Michigan.

 

Almost nothing is happening that would improve the situation for people struggling to find an affordable place to live.

 

Builders and developers are building new homes in the region. But they’re more expensive homes, and they’re being built in or near Traverse City, where land is the most costly.

But a developer named Bryce Gibbs has a new house on the market for $89,000, and his future plans include building historic replica homes that are affordable.

Peter Payette

When Sue Ann Round decided to move her art gallery from Suttons Bay to Traverse City, some of her friends urged her not to do it.

“In general, galleries have not made it very well in Traverse City,” says Round, who has owned Michigan Artists Gallery for 14 years.

But Round figured the city was ready, since there had been so much cultural development in the past decade, with new restaurants and events like the Traverse City Film Festival.  


Tom Carr

 

The number of black people calling northern Michigan home is inching upward slowly. The nation’s second largest racial minority still accounts for just over 1 percent of the local population.

One reason they don’t move here is they don’t tend to vacation here in the first place.

Blake Elliott is an exception to both rules. She vacationed here, and now she lives here.

 


David Cassleman

There aren’t many businesses left in Thompsonville, and one of the few that remains is closing.

Paul’s Party Store is a place to grab a gallon of milk or buy a pack of cigarettes. But you can also find a more hard-to-find item, like balsamic vinegar.

The store is a small, blue pole barn. It used to be a fishing shop — you can still find fishing gear for purchase — and it’s retained the feel of a tackle shop, dark with a concrete floor.

Which Way to Paradise: A neighbor on guard

Oct 14, 2015
David Cassleman

Thompsonville is a small town of roughly 450 people. The village center is just down the road from Crystal Mountain.

And while some people are enjoying the quiet life of a small town, Ron Osga is worried about police protection and a rise in drug use.

He says things got really bad in Thompsonville when heroin hit five years ago.

"For a while they were burying somebody once a year from an overdose," he says.

 


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