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Cross appears atop Dewey Hill

Becky Vargo • Dec 12, 2015 at 1:46 PM

Saturday morning, those who gazed upon Dewey Hill likely noticed a new addition – a white wooden cross perched atop the popular local landmark. 

It appears the cross was erected on the hill sometime late Friday night or early Saturday morning. 

Pictures posted on social media attracted a lot of attention with many people applauding the display and others noting that the person responsible had been trespassing.

The display was short-lived as Grand Haven Public Safety removed the cross later in the afternoon.

“We would take down anything that someone puts on public property without permission,” said City Manager Pat McGinnis. “We’re always removing stuff from the city right-of-way and disposing of it.”

McGinnis said it’s possible the cross would be held at the public works garage for a few days for somebody to claim. That’s a pretty normal occurrence, he said.

For years, a large cross atop Dewey Hill was raised and lowered for various occasions, including Worship on the Waterfront and during the Christmas season. 

That cross was banned from the hill earlier this year, when Grand Haven City Council determined Dewey Hill was not to be made available as a public forum following a complaint from civil rights activist Mitch Kahle and his “Remove the Grand Haven Cross” movement. 

The American flag is allowed to fly and the anchor is allowed to be raised on Independence Day and during the Coast Guard Festival.

The cross was first raised in the early 1960s.

McGinnis said there are no trespassing signs at the bottom of the hill.

“We prefer people not traverse up and down the hill because it is a very sensitive dune area,” he said.

There are no “no trespassing” signs on the back side of the dune.

The city manager said the dunes in the Mulligan’s Hollow area are also considered critical dunes. No trespassing signs are posted in that area as well.

There was some live activity near the Musical Fountain Saturday morning as a work crew continued picking up leftover debris from the nativity scene.

Grand Haven Rotary took down the nativity following the 2014 Christmas display, McGinnis said. City crews disassembled it and delivered it to the Tri-Cities Historical Museum.

The city has been cleaning up the frame work since that time, McGinnis said.

Earlier this summer, a Robinson Township couple put a cross on their pontoon boat and beached it near the foot of Dewey Hill during a Worship in the Waterfront service. 

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