Grand Haven pier restoration continues

Posted at 7:17 PM, Jan 23, 2017
and last updated 2017-01-23 19:17:00-05

GRAND HAVEN, Mich. -- Work is continuing on the Grand Haven pier restoration project. While the Army Corps of Engineers refinishes the surface of the pier, the city will be busy working on the catwalk.

"When the people come back and the lights aren't on and the catwalk structure is gone it looks kind of naked out there.  It looks kind of flat and boring," said Grand Haven City Manager Pat McGinnis.

Although the pier looks a little bare now, the catwalk's absence is not permanent.  The restoration was initially going to be a facelift project, but it turns out the walk from 1921 needed a bit more work.

"As it turns out we are going to be refabricating much of the metal.  We will be rebuilding just about the whole thing with new steel, because much of the steel is delaminating and coming apart," McGinnis said. "So that's the work that is going to be going on this winter and into the spring and probably into the summer before we have enough resources to get the project done."

By resources, McGinnis is talking the $1 million budget to get the job done.  The money is not coming out of taxpayers' wallets.

"We really can't just lay it on the tax rolls," McGinnis said.  "The taxpayers have enough to cover with fire trucks and sewer lines and new roads and that sort of thing, so we really can't dip into the taxpayers for this sort of thing. The city councils encourages all types of fundraising."

Catwalk lovers are pitching in to raise the money, from lemonade stands to pajama runs.

"We're selling plaques that are actually going to go out on the pier on each foot, each bent, and those we are charging $2,500 for," McGinnis said. "We've sold about 75 of those already, there's another 150 of them left."

McGinnis says supporters are also doing a lot of grassroots fundraising, like selling catwalk buttons or doing raffles.

The city has raised about $300,000 for the project so far.