Snowmelt extension talk frigid

Centertown business owners wanting snowmelt for their sidewalks were dealt a blow to their cause this week.
Alex Doty
Jun 24, 2013


City Council nixed a $3,500 study to determine engineering costs for extending the system, in effect ending the issue. The cost would have been split between the city and the city's Main Street Downtown Development Authority.

The measure to go ahead with the study failed when just two of the five members of council supported it Monday night.

“I’ve said all along that I am not supportive of this (and) I’ve not changed my mind,” Mayor Geri McCaleb said. “I don’t want to spend the taxpayers’ money when there is no support to do the project.”

McCaleb also said the city had a good idea of what the costs would be for extending the snowmelt, based on what was done in the downtown area when the system was installed there.

Councilman John Hierholzer also opposed the study.

“I am not going to support this because the city will get no (benefit) out of it,” he said. “I think we’re flushing $1,750 down the sewer.”

Of eight Centertown business owners responding to a city survey, only three said they wanted snowmelt, City Manager Pat McGinnis said.

Centertown business owners attending council's meeting Monday night sang a different tune.

Scott Bekins, owner of Bekins Appliances, 735 Washington Ave., said money was invested into the original snowmelt project to make sure that it had the capability to extend it to Centertown and beyond.

To read more of this story, see today’s print or e-edition of the Grand Haven Tribune.



I really do not blame these merchants or the council for hesitating (or possibly killing) on this deal. The reality is that the current system in the downtown has been a bit of a fiasco. Overall, I like the concept. But frankly when I have been downtown shopping at Christmas time it has been dreary grey. I hate to say it, but I miss the snow downtown. Now, I fully understand that Christmas does not always bring snow and the downtown may be Grey in December with or without the system.

And then there is the cost. The city has really worked over the merchants by giving them an initial cost and then hiking it up in an extra-ordinary way once the system was in place. This process has been unkind to merchants. Is the city set on making our downtown turn in to another downtown Muskegon?


The snowmelt system is a big attractor to visitors and to people looking to relocate to this area. Both of these things add to city coffers by way of taxes! And believe me it stands out a selling point for people new to the area. For people with mobility limitations it is a wonderful thing as well, since they know they will be able to shop downtown without being stopped by the built up snow. There is plenty of snow all over the rest of town to be picturesque. GH should be very proud of what nice amenities it offers to seniors in the area, this would be a nice addition.
I personally would love to see Centertown's shopping district taken care of the way that the main downtown area is, both with respect to facade improvements and the snowmelt system. GH could really benefit in expanding their shopping district into an area that right now isn't immediately apparent or easy to find, for those visiting town for the first time.
As for funding, the article states that money was invested into the original snowmelt project to make sure that it had the capability to extend it to Centertown. If that is the case, it seems like a bit of a ripoff to Centertown business owners to go back on that promise now.
Any well developed shopping area does take a certain amount of community investment to ensure that it is an enjoyable experience for shoppers and profitable for the owners! Towns that don't promote a vibrant image can too easily become seen as run-down and not a place that people want to spend their day.
Being short-sighted and cheap about investing in the future isn't going to help in the long run.


the project seem pretty good at the time, more like a dream to go shopping downtown and no snow, but the real fact is people have been shopping downtown store for 100 of years and just dealt with the weather, it is michigan after all, thses merchants downtown are having a struggle now with expeneses so why should we excert more burden on them, cap the project and go back to the way it was originaly


@GHTwpResident3581 The problem is that the city has shown themselves untrustworthy in *this particular* case. They have really abused the shopkeepers with the outrageous price increases compared to the "teaser rate"


The Tri-Cities is my home, I love it here, I am proud to live here, and I care about the people and business' that live and work here. I usually don't get involved in discussions like this but lately, the city counsel is exerting influence and their will where I truly believe they shouldn't.

Some of this goes back to the Coast Guard sign but this snow melt situation has been fought and argued, decided and installed, long ago. Some have and some don't now because they say so. Sorry council, let the business' that will ultimately pay for this decide; don't give us the 3 out of 8 business either. I'd like to know precisely who the 8 tenants are that are involved with this and also who the 3 are that want it; I can figure out who the other 5 are.

Tribune, if you are going to print a story then tell us all the facts; I'm curious about the ones that don't want this and would like to ask them why. I like the system personally, spend time down town in the winter and can actually park a vehicle without someone else damaging it. I can walk on the sidewalk without slipping and breaking my very well used hips and knees as well.

Take a poll from persons over 60 and see how that turns out for you. By the way, we have a tremendous amount of disposable income and most of us hate the damned mall in Muskegon.


the ducks like it...warms their butts!


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