The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is currently refurbishing Grand Haven’s south pier to preserve the structural integrity of the pier and the safety of the community.
The catwalk, however, is owned by the city, and therefore is not included in the pier renewal project. The funds from 100 Men, along with the contributions from the rest of the community, will help assure that the iconic structure that has defined Grand Haven since 1922 will be preserved.
Save the Catwalk is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization set up for the sole purpose of restoring and maintaining the Grand Haven catwalk now and into the future.
“Thank you from the entire Save the Grand Haven Catwalk committee and the City of Grand Haven,” said Erin Turrell, Save the Catwalk chairperson. “We are all extremely thankful to the 100 Men Who Give for not only thinking to consider sharing the story of the catwalk, but for selecting the Save Grand Haven Catwalk to be the recipient of the funds. It is wonderful to see how our community has united around this project.”
The 100 Men Who Give help charitable organizations in the Tri-Cities area by making unanticipated gifts to support good works in the community. The group currently has about 70 members and meets quarterly in Spring Lake. In a one-hour meeting, the group listens to presentations from three randomly selected members representing local organizations, asks questions of the presenters, and then votes to determine which agency receives its charitable funds. Each member writes a $100 check and the funds are quickly disbursed to the winning agency.
The City of Grand Haven removed the catwalk last year at the cost of $84,000; however, a total of $1 million is needed to restore and replace the catwalk. The city, with the help of Save the Grand Haven Catwalk, has successfully raised more than $800,000.
The Grand Haven Area Community Foundation established a fund to hold and administer the tax-deductible donations. The funds will assure that this iconic structure that has defined Grand Haven since 1922 will be preserved. The catwalk complements Grand Haven’s reputation as one of the top tourist destinations in the state.
The first catwalk in Grand Haven was a wooden structure that was built in 1895 and helped to assure that the lighthouse keepers and members of the Coast Guard could access the lighthouse in storms to assure that the light remained lit to enable safe passage into the port of Grand Haven. When the lighthouse became fully automated in 1969, the catwalk was no longer functional; however, it continues to have a strong aesthetic aspect that has touched the heart and soul of so many in our community.
Since 1988, the catwalk has supported the double row of lights that represent the lights from the USS Escanaba, which was sunk in the North Atlantic during World War II.