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Grand Haven eyes fundraising to fix pier catwalk | News

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Grand Haven eyes fundraising to fix pier catwalk

GRAND HAVEN, Mich. (Grand Haven Tribune) -- The city continues to look at ways to fund restoration work on the trademark catwalk structure that sits atop Grand Haven's south pier.

The catwalk connects the entrance light and inner light to the shore along the south pier — a structure that's also set to be repaired at some point in the future by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. This will require the catwalk to be temporarily moved, or removed if the city does nothing.

"If the corps comes in and wants to do this, it's going to cost $200,000 to lift up the catwalk without making any repairs," City Councilman Mike Fritz said.

This has created some sense of urgency as an ad hoc fundraising committee meets periodically to drum up ways to fundraise for the catwalk.

"We know that we're up against it," City Manager Pat McGinnis said.

To help raise money for future catwalk restoration work, the Grand Haven Eagles club plans to work with the city and several local entities — including Loutit District Library, Tri-Cities Historical Museum, the city's Historical Conservation Commission and Main Street Downtown Development Authority, and the local Chamber of Commerce to host a fundraiser on Jan. 30, 2016.

"We've got $1.5 million to raise, and this is the kickoff," McGinnis said. "That will really prime the pump."

To elevate the efforts of the Eagles and others, the city will commit to a one-to-one match of money raised at the fundraiser, up to $10,000. This is similar to an effort that was undertaken to raise money for the coal tipple, which netted just under $10,000.

"It's going to be a great event," Fritz said. "They'll have a silent auction (and raffles) with some super, super prizes."

Fritz and other members of City Council have publicly supported the preservation of the catwalk. Council has directed city staff to take steps to make sure the catwalk stays on the pier, while accomplishing the goal by using as few local tax dollars as possible.

Fritz noted that it'll be important to have funding in place, especially if the corps comes in soon with funding to make pier repairs.

The city has submitted a grant application to the National Maritime Heritage Preservation Program for $200,000. This money would be used to support the catwalk during any corps construction and/or to preserve/restore individual bents that are identified.

Additionally, the city has received a low bid of $148,051 to repair 10 catwalk bents — the "A"- and "H"-like structures that support the catwalk. The cost for professional services will be approximately $20,000, for a total cost for the first phase of approximately $170,000.