Last week, Grand Haven City Council signed off on a plan to install a 7.5-foot-tall monument that denotes the new stadium and the late philanthropist’s contribution. The new stadium will carry Sherwood’s name.
“She made such a contribution to have what we have today. If it wasn’t for that, it would have never came to fruition,” City Councilman Mike Fritz said of the stadium. “We’d still be trying to figure out where is the money going to come from and how are we going to do this.”
A $3 million gift from Sherwood’s estate helped kick off the redevelopment project. Funding for the stadium redevelopment was also made possible by a grant agreement with the state to receive $280,000 from the Michigan Department of Natural Resources Trust Fund. As part of the agreement, the city agreed to a $674,900 local match.
A 9-foot-tall monument was originally proposed and supported by the stadium committee and project architects. However, there was some concern among members of City Council about its height.
Councilman Bob Monetza said he would be more apt to go with installing a 6-foot monument rather then the 9-foot or the 7.5-foot compromise.
“Anybody in the private sector would be putting up a 6-foot sign,” he said.
Monetza also noted that in addition to the city going against what it would allow private business to install, he also wasn’t keen on the architect’s recommendation.
“The fact that our architect recommends 9 feet doesn’t really hold a lot of weight with me,” the councilman said.
Montenza said that the same architectural firm recommended that the old depot building roof line up with depot building addition, which upon completion he said looks like a “scar” across the roof, denoting the new and old roof lines.
To help City Council make a decision, architects provided renderings that show the various sizes of signs in the plaza. They also constructed a wood mockup to show how each size would look.
Mayor Geri McCaleb said she didn’t have a problem with a 9-foot-tall monument.
“It sounds high until you see the wide open space it’s in,” she said. “I could live with 7.5 feet, but I think 9 feet speaks more to what we just built, or are in the process of building.”
The mayor noted that Sherwood’s contributions came as a “huge blessing” to the community in order to get the stadium project started and funded.