Based on a report to City Council on Monday, the city's historic commission recommends council proceed with a structural analysis to determine the cost of repair, explore future possibilities of connecting it with a bigger preservation plan, and to pursue opportunities to promote and fund the preservation of the coal tipple.
It is estimated that it could cost as much as $30,000 to perform initial work on the tipple prior to beginning any real restoration work. This work would include cleaning off bird feces, removing loose concrete and shoring up certain areas.
“It should be preserved in such a way to preserve its authenticity,” Snedeker said.
Snedeker noted that the coal tipple in Grand Haven was one of three of its age and design in Michigan, and the historic commission wants to do more research to determine its uniqueness nationally.
“The two biggest issues in the way (of restoration) are scarce funds and a lack of use for the structure,” Snedeker said.
As possible ways of preserving the structure, Snedeker said the city could seek out grants and hold special events to raise money for the restoration.
“Promoting preservation alone might not justify its viability to the community,” Snedeker added.
Some ideas for reuse presented by the historic commission include linking the tipple to the nearby 1223 locomotive and historic train depot, marketing the tipple as a photography landmark, installing kiosks and interpretive displays, and using the site as a Harbor Transit trolley turnaround/drop-off destination.
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