“We have started the conversation about what people would like to see at Waterfront Stadium,” said Joy Gaasch, president of the local Chamber of Commerce.
Gaasch is a part of a committee that’s looking at improvements that could change the face of the stadium.
“It is not particularly the nicest thing to look at,” Gaasch added.
The stadium, built in 1968, hosts everything from Coast Guard Festival shows, Musical Fountain shows, to church services on the waterfront. Little has changed in regards to its appearance and function since it was originally built.
“We happen to think that we can do better,” said downtown business owner Steve Loftis, another who is helping to foster the conversation about a new stadium environment.
To come up with possible solutions for the future, a group composed of people from the Chamber, city, Downtown Development Authority and Planning Commission, and other community groups, met to brainstorm ideas with Johnson-Hill Land Ethics Studio.
According to those involved, the city has no financial stake in the game at this point, since it is all being funded through private donations.
“To look at this stuff is costing the taxpayers nothing,” City Manager Pat McGinnis said. “It’s 100 percent privately funded.”
While it may be early, those involved have been excited about what has been discussed so far.
“The ideas have been great,” Loftis said. “We’re to a point where we’ve done a few design charettes.”
Loftis said the group is looking to make the stadium’s footprint more of a green and natural area with tiered seating built into the landscape surrounding the waterfront.
“It’ll look like it’s just been there forever,” he said. “I am very excited about it.”
Loftis and McGinnis both said that, hopefully by next year, the preliminary talks will shift to something more presentable to the community. So stay tuned, organizers said, the best is yet to come.
To read more of this story, see today’s print or e-edition of the Grand Haven Tribune.