“It’s essentially a billboard,” Environment and Natural Resources Committee Chairman Dan Small said. “As you drive through Grand Haven that is the first thing you see.”
The dune has also been the source of controversy in recent years. A prime example is last summer's firestorm of public dismay when the Coast Guard U.S.A. sign was initially nixed by city leaders, then allowed after a community outcry.
Being the landmark that it is, after months of talk, Small's committee has created a vision for the dune.
“Several months ago, we were asked to develop a Dewey Hill preservation plan for current or foreseeable uses for (the hill),” Small said.
Small said given the nature and history of the hill, it was important that it be maintained well into the future.
“Dewey Hill is a part of the largest freshwater sand system in the world. As such, it needs some attention,” Small said. “Dewey Hill has played an important role for the City of Grand Haven. It’s played an important role for special uses for the city and third parties over the course of history.”
The plan itself is less than a page and a half long. The committee met this spring, at which time they focused on finalizing the preservation plan.
“This is essentially designed to be a living document,” Small said. “If a future, unforeseen use presents itself, you could add to it.”
City officials say the plan was developed using recent knowledge gained over the last few years — from uses of Dewey Hill, to the recent washout and restoration work done at Mulligan’s Hollow.
“We’ve had quite a bit of discussion over the past 12 months on the traditional uses and the impact those uses have on the hill,” City Manager Pat McGinnis said.
Those uses, McGinnis noted, range from things such as the Christmas Nativity scene and the Grand Haven Coast Guard Festival sign.
The plan allows for the continuation of the Nativity scene on the hill. The Coast Guard U.S.A. sign, along with other Coast Guard Festival details, is awaiting approval by the city.
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