About Us

The Thompsonville Area revitalization project began in late 2020 as an outgrowth of efforts to relocate the 1900 era Ann Arbor railroad depot from Glen Arbor, Michigan to Thompsonville, Michigan to be restored and utilized as a historical exhibit and visitor’s center for the southeast end of the Betsie Valley Trail in Benzie County.

Motivated leaders and residents of Thompsonville, Weldon Township, and Colfax Township, members of the Betsie Valley Trail Council, and leadership of Crystal Mountain began having informal discussions as to how to make this goal a reality.

The conversation enlarged conceptually to building a visitor’s and historical interpretive center from the ground up and to restoring the caboose that is situated adjacent to the historic Thompsonville Junction (diamond crossing) and the State of Michigan historical marker placed in 2020.

The mission of TARP is to undertake projects which improve the quality of life for all people in the greater Thompsonville area. Consistent with this mission, TARP has a designated a goal of creating a trailhead on the Betsie Valley Trail adjacent to George W. Sharp Park, with a vision to provide an attractive and historically compelling destination with which to attract bicyclists on the Betsie Valley Trail from Elberta, Frankfort, and Beulah, historically motivated tourists from around the state, student groups from the Benzie County Schools, and adjacent counties. Included in this vision would be improvements to the primitive camping facilities in the park. Our hopes are that this project would be the catalyst that stimulates further improvements and extension of the Betsie Valley Trail eastward towards Copemish and Mesick and encourages the revitalization of the Thompsonville area. 

The conceptual design process and masterplan were undertaken by the consulting firm Beckett & Raeder, Inc. This was funded by a $10,000 seed grant from Rotary Charities of Traverse City and additional contributions from individuals and businesses in the community. 

In 2021 the TARP group was formally recognized as a 501(C) (3) non-profit and a board of directors was elected. 

While continuing to move forward with its primary mission, TARP’s involvement in the Thompsonville area community has expanded to include the planting and caring for 26 landscaping squares on Thompson Avenue.

Addition grant funding received from the Grand Traverse Reginal Community Foundation, The Benzie sunrise Rotary, The USDA, and an additional grand from Rotary Charities of Traverse City allowed the TARP to contract the Mansfield Land Use Consultants to undertake a Phase two design and engineering study in 2023. TARP continues to explore options for funding the successful completion of the trailhead project.


TARP Board of Directors:

Charles T. Kraus, President
Eugene Allen, Jr., Vice President
Phyllis Kladder, Treasurer
Becky Sharp, Secretary
Russ Smith
John Van Laeken
Timothy Taylor
Dee Dee Lentz
Ron Hitesman


Community Partners

Village of Thompsonville
Weldon Township
Colfax Township
Benzie Area Historical Society and Museum
Benzie County Parks and Recreation Commission
Crystal Mountain
Department of Natural Resources
Friends of the Betsie Valley Library
Friends of Betsie Valley Trail
Friends of SMARTrails of Manistee County

Here’s How to Show Your Support

‘Get on Board!’ and support our mission by donating today.
Please open the form below to send your donation by check to:

Thompsonville Area Revitalization Project
P.O. Box 522
Thompsonville, MI 49683

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