Community rallies around 'CG City' sign

The Coast Guard Festival's Dewey Hill sign brought a crowd of supporters to City Hall on Monday night.
Alex Doty
Jun 18, 2013


Numerous individuals, from Coast Guardsmen to festival organizers, spoke to the significance of the sign.

Roger Bergman, a former mayor, said he heard from residents about the issue immediately after City Council made its decision two weeks ago to prevent the "Coast Guard City USA sign" going up this summer.

"Their request was to come to you and ask you to reconsider your decision," he said. "Needless to say, I'd like to personally ask you to reconsider your decision."

Bergman was on City Council and serving as mayor when the decision was made two years ago to allow the sign on the hill.

"I am here simply to ask that the letters be put back up," he said to council. "Please just do it. After all, we're Coast Guard City USA and we are proud of it."

Some council members reconsidered their decision to vote against the letters.

"I think, if we are listening to the citizens of Grand Haven, we owe it to them to try it again," Councilman Dennis Scott said.

However, council did not reverse its decision to prevent the sign — at least not yet. According to Mayor Geri McCaleb, there would have to be overwhelming City Council support to have the issue looked at again.

Scott noted that he had been stopped countless times in the past two weeks to be told about their love of the letters, how other things such as fireworks and firefighters who spray the hill during the shows damage the hill, and that the city should rethink its decision.

Scott said the signs should be allowed for this year's Coast Guard Festival, July 26 to Aug. 4, and then let the city's Environmental & Natural Resources Committee look at the hill before and after, and report their findings to council in the fall.

"Then the Coast Guard Festival has time to come up with an alternative," he said.

McCaleb, who was the lone vote two weeks ago to keep the sign, said she still supports it.

"I'm with Denny," she said Monday. "Everywhere I go, it is what people have on their minds. For some reason, this has really struck a chord with the people of Grand Haven."

McCaleb noted that the Coast Guard has offered its expertise in helping to prevent any erosion on the hillside from the sign.

Coast Guard Festival Executive Director Mike Smith said he hopes council members would do their job and listen to the people, who overwhelmingly want the sign to return for a third summer. Smith said he has received a lot of support from the community about the sign.

"We've heard from people that the sign really matters to them," he said.

Smith also noted that if erosion is such an issue, he would support a study that would look at that issue.

He also disagreed that the sign is some kind of advertisement.

"The only thing that sign says is who we are," Smith said. "That is all it was ever intended to be."


Grand Haven Happy

I'm really bummed that I didn't find out about the Monday meeting as we'd surely have been there!

What to do about the wrong decision?

If the city council doesn't reverse it's decision and very quickly, remember the member's sign votes as cast at the next election and record your reaction where it really counts and send them the message loud and clear! They made their decision and the citizens should make theirs as it's the ultimate rule! The council memebers are there to serve the wants, needs, and desires of the community not their own whims, wishes, or agenda's. How wrong can a council decision be as this was among the worst I've ever seen in my 71+ years of living here. What part of realism doesn't the wayward council members get anyway? SHAME on them!


Personally, I'm tired of Dewy Hill being used as a "Billboard Backdrop" for everything from the Christian community thinking they own it every Sunday to display that god awful, over-sized white cross to their Camel caravan, sheep, and people figures draped across the front of the entire hill. Then they have the audacity to say, there's equal representation of religion because they display a Jewish Menorah placed at the bottom of the hill that’s about 1/20th the size of the cross. I don’t know who they’re fooling, but it’s sure not me especially when I know many considered “Prominent” Christian figures in this community who have said less than favorable bias comments and what they consider “jokes” about not only the Jewish race, but others as well such as the believers in Muhammad and Islam. I’m completely fine with the Musical Fountain, but other than that, leave Dewy hill alone to display it’s natural beauty for all to find awe in and leave the man-made symbols and advertising for highway billboards, magazines, and newspapers.


You make a good point Mr. Williams about representation. And shame on any prominent folks in the community who speak unfavorably about other religions. With that said, I think it comes down to the community's desire to have or not have something on the hill. From reading the paper, I think it's safe to say the majority seem to favor allowing some signage or symbols.

Just for the record, "Jewish" refers to a religion, it's not a race.


Mr. Williams, you said it very well and I agree.

The Guy

This is such a simple non-issue. There is no evidence from the DNR and no other government agency reported the sign as detrimental to the dunes. It is sad our elected officials would have voted against it. I believe they did this as a vendetta repayment. They could not get their way and chose to take it out by voting the sign out. They do not like Mr. Smith or other members of the Coast Guard Committee and they have it in for anyone standing in their way including our previous mayor Roger Bergman. However, they did not think the backlash would be this strong. This is a political move by the negative voter's.

As for Mr. Williams, be still and be quiet. You are one of maybe 100 people out of 30,000 that feel that way. Grow up sir and stop being that whiney kid on the playground.


Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved. Not Muhammad or Buddah. This country was founded on freedom to worship the one true God. Not the freedom to worship false gods or idols


What an ignorant twit. You and people who think like you are a large part of the problems in this country today.
From what I recall learning this country was founded in large part on a desire for freedom to practice one's own religious beliefs, not just the fairy tale you subscribe to. I would be willing to bet that even your own religion would not support your myopic, narrow-minded view of how you should treat others who don't share your views. Your version of God is no less false than any other. It must be wonderful to live in a vaccuum and be so unaware of the world around you. May your god save your close-minded, hateful soul from eternal damnation.


Yeah, I know, my previous comment was woefully off-topic, but people like this Bravo person really yank my chain with their foolish, ignorant drivel. This person is no different in their beliefs than those wackjobs of the Westboro Baptist church.
As for the sign, I still don't understand the outrage, but if the consensus is that the citizens of Grand Haven want it on the hill then their wishes should be respected unless the council can explain rationally and with some basis in fact as to what precipitated their decision to disallow the sign this year. They owe the citizens an explanation as it's their job to represent the citizens wishes, not do whatever they want for their own personal reasons. If they don't feel compelled to explain themselves then it may be time for some new blood when the opportunity arises.


Post a Comment

Log in to your account to post comments here and on other stories, galleries and polls. Share your thoughts and reply to comments posted by others. Don't have an account on Create a new account today to get started.