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Flooding has become the new normal in South Haven, city manager says

Posted at 3:39 AM, May 18, 2020

SOUTH HAVEN, Mich. — Regular ponding of streets and walkways has also become a familiar sight for residents in South Haven.

City Manager Brian Dissette says the city has been working with the US Army Corps of Engineers to install temporary dam structures to try and control the flooding.

With heavy rainfall this weekend, and warmer weather on the way, they only expect water levels to continue to rise.

"We've got certain streets that since really since last summer, have been regularly underwater on homes being largely inaccessible public parks and marinas being largely inaccessible," said Brian Dissette, South Haven City Manager.

"Those Hesco barriers are placed there really to protect critical infrastructure there's a million gallons of drinking water stored under the beach. And that's the thing that we're trying to protect. We recognize that people are going to want additional sand additional space to enjoy the beach, unfortunately, it's, it's a fraction of the size that it was just a couple of summers ago," he said.

With Memorial Day just a week away, city leaders are expected more people out of the water and on the beach.

Social distancing signs have gone up to remind people and police will be out in full force making sure the waterfront is safe for everyone.

"We have many, many boats going into the local harbor. There's about 1,100 slips in the South Haven harbor and as you mill about in South Haven you see more and more of those slips are are getting to be filled up with boats," Dissette said.

"So boating is definitely an activity that's permitted the you know the second part of that question is the the beaches and parks, public is those are all open. We do have signage in place that reminds people to use caution, we do not make any guarantees about disinfecting of those public spaces, and we just urge people be cautious and be smart. In an effort to try and keep themselves healthy."

The city says it has been meeting with the Chamber of Commerce regularly to discuss what they expect will be growing crowds on the water. The chamber is also working to help businesses impacted by the executive order.

Dissette says while its too early to tell if they will lose businesses to all of this, the potential is there.