Lights out for CG Park show

In an unexpected turn of events, event organizer Brad Boyink pulled the plug on the possibility of the Holiday Road light show setting up in Coast Guard Park.
Marie Havenga
Jul 16, 2013


Boyink had proposed moving the popular synchronized light show that formerly operated in the Heather Court neighborhood in Spring Lake Township to the east side of Coast Guard Park.

“It's not worth the battle,” he said at Monday night's Ferrysburg City Council meeting.

That decision followed more than 90 minutes of comments and questions from City Council and the public.

Councilwoman Regina Sjoberg, a strong opponent of the light show at the park, criticized Councilwoman Rebecca Hopp for not requesting financial statements from Boyink and for recommending the show location to City Council from her position on the Parks and Recreation Commission.

“I think it's a total disregard of the life and property rights of the people living west of Coast Guard Park,” said Sjoberg, who lives in a nearby condominium community. “Logistically, I think this is a nightmare.”

Sjoberg read from a 1973 quit-claim deed from the National Park Service to the City of Ferrysburg that granted the Coast Guard Park land to the city. She said the deed stipulates that the property cannot be leased to anyone except another governmental entity.

Allowing the synchronized holiday light show to set up shop at the park would breach the agreement with the federal government and result in the property reverting back to the U.S. Department of the Interior, according to Sjoberg's interpretation.

“I would say this just can't happen,” she said, adding that she would seek legal advice and consult with the Department of the Interior.

Several other council members asked for additional traffic information and several audience members expressed concerns, but it was after Sjoberg's intense opposition that Boyink informed City Council he was withdrawing his request.

“Obviously, she will do anything in her power to prevent this from happening,” Boyink said. “We have never been about creating battles. It's not worth creating a public battle.”

Boyink said it is likely the show will have to take a year hiatus and begin searching for another location for 2014.

Sjoberg said she's “very happy to take that blame” for the show not appearing in Coast Guard Park.

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



If this is illegal, this Councilwoman saved Ferrysburg frm making a big mistake!
Mr. Boyink claims he is not about creating battles, but it looks to me that everywhere this show lands, there IS a battle. According to the Grand Haven poll, the majority of people think it is time to end the show altogether. A sad result for a good charity - but mainly due to poor planning on Mr. Boyink's part.


Sounds to me like these people against it don't like or want to help charities in our area. You can continue to live in your quiet, unbothered bubble.


To be honest, all those involved with the show will probably "selfishly" appreciate the break as well. It is a ton of work to put on such an event! However, that work is far outweighed by the charities that benefit from the shows existence. I feel bad for the charities that there has to be so many humbugs, grinches, Christmas nazi's, etc in the world to possibly have brought this show to a halt this year.

As a frequent traveler down N. Shore I was not hesitant for this extra traffic in the least. Probably the part I was most looking forward to was the very short trip down to the Holiday Road with the kids for free entertainment, they just LOVE IT!

It's sad that the efforts and planning put forth to ensure this would be the least intrusive to the neighborhood it could possibly be were of no sway in the opinions of the nay sayers...

Maybe Brad should just decorate his personal house this year and take advantage of his rights as a home owner. Then as people hear of the house and meander even further down the road without any traffic control, the people can see exactly what it is like to have "not planned" all details out!


Our family just loves the light show. We have made it part of our Christmas tradition. Please try to find another spot. It is so worth the effort. I thought Dewey Hill was a wonderful idea. People could stretch out along the boardwalk and really enjoy it.


The funny thing is, if he did it on his home (which I doubt is possible due to HOA regulations), it would tick off the very same people that are already against it.

Sjoberg is one of those NIMBY idiots that feels the world revolves around them because they live in this so called 'wealthy' area, and screw all the charities and visitors because it might affect their life in the slightest bit.

I feel sorry for Sjoberg because she is so empty on life. Must suck...


People who don't want to violate the law automatically hate charities? What do you people not get that this is forbidden by the Dept. of the Interior?
Dewey Hill is a good idea, but - given the Grand Haven Council's reticence about displaying the CG sign during Festival, I doubt that they would go for this.


Imagine gathering up the family on a snowy night to see the Christmas Lights on Dewey Hill. Then the family could walk the sidewalks and shop the festively decorated stores on the way to get their picture taken with Santa. Sounds like a wonderful evening to me.


It's not forbidden, that's how she interprets the quit claim deed, because she doesn't want it in her neighborhood. They are forbidden from leasing out the land--not allowing a community organization to use it. People use that park for many different activities, and no one's zooming in from the government to take the land back.


Boyink did want to lease the land. A lease was going to be posted for public notice for 15 days. This was not mere useage, it was an actual lease.


Boyink never asked for a lease, only usage. His proposal that was in the council's packet showed this. The cities' attorney is the one who recommended a lease as stated in documents given to the parks committee. Seems strange the cities' attorney didn't take issue with the request if it was going to be such an issue. I imagine the lease was to ensure that there would be insurance in place that protected the city and property.


Would anyone really suggest that public property should just be turned over to a private entity without the protection of a lease? Not very good oversight of the taxpayers' dollars!


I also find it very interesting that councilwoman Sjoberg's point that use of the park by Holiday Road is outside the permitted activities set by the Dept. of Interior when it was given to the city. Yet it is perfectly acceptable for Coast Guard Festival to use the park for an event that is also outside the permitted activities she stated from the deed. Must be because she also is on the Coast Guard Festival committee. Seems a bit hypocritical to me. Her position had nothing to do with the law, if so she should stand up and say that the Coast Guard Festival Organization and all others can not use the park either.


uhhh...she's not on the festival committee. that doesn't negate your point- i just wanted to clarify.


It is sad that they may be no light display this year for a wondeful charity. I don't think coast guard park was a good idea but not for the reason given by one bitter council member, and as far as I know unless she joined in the last 24 hrs, is not on the coast guard festival board. I loved it indoors last year. To all the people that say they want it back outdoors, I bet not one of you want it or could even find it possible to have it in your neighborhood. Sitting in my car in a long line to see what was in the Heather Ct. neighborhood, was not a fun time for me. Did it once that way and walked in once, which sucked even more. Dewey Hill would be ok if people are willing to park their cars and walk to the waterfront. Ever try to watch the nativity from your car and find parking along the waterfront to watch? Not many spots for that. The biggest reason people gave was to stay in their cars. Maybe its time to go outside of the Tri-Cities and still not be that far and hook up with another area to do so. Grand Rapids does something silimiar at the Whitecaps ballpark where people drive through. Granted every vehicle is forced to pay to get in and Holiday Road has been free and by donations. Heritage Landing in Muskegon sits idle a great deal of the time and may make the ideal spot for a outdoor drive by area. Plenty of open, not used space in Muskegon.

Will Dare

This display should be placed somewhere near an easy entry/exit retail area, such that it is a win for charities, retailers & towns and even the organizer.

Tri-cities realist

I predict that if Dewey Hill is proposed as a site for the show, it will be revealed that the deed to the hill, held by the city of Grand Haven will be violated, handing ownership of the hill back to the Ottawa Indians.

Will Dare

Though we cannot turn back time, I wish SL Twnshp officials would have possessed the same amount of backbone as Sjoberg. A lot of heartache could have been avoided.

Ask yourself: why has this display - started in about '06 - not found a home? I think the main reason (out of several) is this: it serves a purpose for some people. In that way it is like a nuclear plant, landfill or casino. However, no one wants these things in their neighborhood.


It seems to me the show had a home for several years until he moved. Looking at the Tribune's timeline a majority of the years were in the neighborhood. If it was so bad why did so many nearby neighbors like our family vote yes to continue it? The reason is simple, it benefits good charities and brings joy to many.

Has our society become so selfish that none of this matters anymore? At times there was a lot of traffic but the slight inconvenience of going home from another direction was nothing compared to the good this show has done for the community. Just my 2 cents.


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