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Frankenmuth News

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Vol. 109 No. 39


PALMER GATEWAY ARCH: Above is the proposed rendering by Kibbe & Associates of the Palmer Gateway Arch, which would be built across M-83, just south on Weiss Street, in 2016. Please see the story above. 


Plans are continuing for south city gateway arch

Palmer Foundation to fund, maintain the landmark

  A majority of motorists who visit Frankenmuth travel to town from the south, using M-83.

  As early as next year, they may have a gateway arch to “Willkommen” them or say Auf Wiedersehen” as they leave.

  On behalf of the Walter and Marie Palmer Foundation Fund of the Frankenmuth Community Foundation, the City of Frankenmuth held an open house in September, 2014 at Cross Park, located on M-83, just south of Weiss Street.

   The proposed gateway arch site would span M-83 between Cross Park and Grandpa Tiny’s Farm.

  At the open house, area residents reviewed proposed renderings and were able to see the area where the arch would be built. A vast majority of the persons in attendance were in favor of a gateway arch.

  Since that time, the concept was turned over to the Frankenmuth Township Board of Trustees for their approval. Earlier this year, Township Supervisor Tim Hildner sent the city a letter approving the project, on the condition they obtain a sign permit from the township, City Manager Charlie Graham said.

  The Frankenmuth City Council has two resolutions on its Tuesday, April 7 council meeting agenda regarding the proposed arch.

  First, the council will look to approve a policy regarding use of funds from the Frankenmuth Community Foundation for maintenance of what is currently called the “Palmer Gateway Arch.”

  If approved, a total of $250,000 will be allocated for maintaining the arch in future years.

  “The intent of the council is to not use the base dollars, but the interest earnings, to cover any maintenance costs,” Graham said. “The $250,000 would be used only in emergency or above and beyond work.”

  The second resolution would be approving an agreement with Kibbe Associates for engineering design of the arch.

  Kibbe has been on board since last summer and supplied the most recent renderings.

  “If approved, Kibbe will finalize the design and get down to the nitty gritty engineering details,” Graham said.

  Through the FCF, a total of $750,000 has been set aside to build the arch.

  If both resolutions are approved, then the city can pursue the sign permit from the township, Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) permitting and acquiring some property from Grandpa Tiny’s Farm for the east side of the arch. The city will also need a construction and maintenance easement from the farm.

  When all the paperwork is finished, the construction bidding process could begin as early as this fall, with the arch to be built in 2016.

  The Palmer Foundation Fund was started as a charitable organization by the late Walter and Maria Palmer, the original owners of the Bavarian Haus Motel, now Zehnder’s Splash Village.

  The Palmer Fund, now part of the Frankenmuth Community Foundation, has funded a variety of community projects, including the Palmer Schau Platz, the Christmas over-the-street star streamers, the Frankenmuth School District music and band programs and more. Currently, the Fund is helping improve the sound system at the Bronner Performing Arts Center.

  Palmer Fund trustees, with the approval from the Frankenmuth Community Foundation, seek to gift this arch to the Frankenmuth community, paying all the construction and long-term maintenance costs – just as it has done for more than 20 years with the star streamer program.

  “It is the intent of the Palmer Fund that the City of Frankenmuth would be the steward of the arch, overseeing its construction and maintenance at no cost to the local citizen,” Stamiris pointed out.

  The Fund is working through the Downtown Development Authority, who has supplied staff and guidance to the project.

  For more information, contact Downtown Development Authority Director Sheila Stamiris at 652-3430, extension 120 or choose her email at



(c) 2006 Frankenmuth News