State, feds say no to city park plan

The city's plans for a waterfront park at the end of Doric Street have been torpedoed by state and federal agencies.
Marie Havenga
Dec 19, 2013


However, Ferrysburg City Council still hopes to keep the project afloat.

Council directed City Manager Craig Bessinger earlier this week to research the cost of modifications that would put the project in good standing with the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

The DEQ and Corps of Engineers both denied the city’s request to dredge sand out of Spring Lake at the end of Doric and to place it onshore to form a public beach area on the 44-by-65-foot city-owned lot, which is on the north side of Spring Lake immediately south of Lakeview Drive. The city also wanted to grade the lot for an easy approach to the water.

A Dec. 9 letter from the DEQ stated that the project as proposed would adversely impact wetland on the property.

The Corps of Engineers determined much the same.

“Your project may cause adverse impacts to wetlands, aquatic organisms and water quality in Spring Lake,” according to John Konik, chief of the corps' regulatory office for engineering and technical services.

Bessinger said it’s time to revisit the drawing board.

“They don’t want any dredging,” he said. “They want a boardwalk to get to the water’s edge. We’re going to look at what the options are and how we can revise our application to get approval from the DEQ and Army Corps.”

Both agencies indicated they prefer a public beach in the upland area and are opposed to grading.

Bessinger said the costs, which are unknown at this time, could play a huge part in the project’s fate.

To date, the city has spent $2,700 to prepare the application it sent to the DEQ and Corps of Engineers, with the help of a marine contractor. The North Bank Communities Fund kicked in $1,400 for the project.

The project as proposed was expected to cost about $4,000.

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



I really hope that they are able to work something out. The lack of public beaches on Spring Lake is asinine. It is a beautiful lake, family friendly waters, and you don't have to battle the inlanders to get into GH. What about getting the beach sand needed from Muskegon in the Spring when everyone is fighting to get rid of it? A nice Accessible walkway to the shore is also a good idea. Seems like a meet in the middle opportunity to give the community something nice.


Maybe there's a reason for the new Gallup poll that says "Seventy-two percent of Americans say big government is a greater threat to the U.S. in the future than is big business or big labor, a record high in the nearly 50-year history of this question. The prior high for big government was 65% in 1999 and 2000. Big government has always topped big business and big labor, including in the initial asking in 1965, but just 35% named it at that time."


Oh blah, blah, blah. It's a small beach in a small town. Nobody in Washington even knows Spring Lakes exists. Obama had nothing to do with the decision fercryinoutloud.

So, not only are you against poor kids, you're also against saving wetlands now?

Don't any of your relatives back East want you to come and visit them for the holidays? I'd be willing to pay for your gas one way.


Of course, the poll results fly in the face of the facts. Since Nixon-Ford, the annualized growth in real per capita government spending is the second least under Obama. It was the lowest under Clinton - the highest under Nixon-Ford, then tied between Reagan and Bush II.

FYI - Bush increased government spending more than the six presidents preceding him. Clinton increased the budget by 12.5%. Bush increased it by....53%. Mercatus Center.

Perhaps this is why you chose to omit the word 'Obama' from your comment?


Stop it! you're just goading him on to new heights.


Maybe. You'll notice the response from him is....crickets....


OH great, now he's going to have to come up with something for sure. He can't let some uppity female get the last word. That would be an affront to justice and the American way of life. Probably this whole thing will end up being Obama's fault.

Tri-cities realist

Yep, it's all Bush's fault. Luckily the next president will get to blame everything on Obama for the next 4 or 8 years.

Tri-cities realist

Btw, For 6 of Clinton's 8 years, the R's controlled Congress, do they get any credit? Nah, doesn't fit with the narrative. And yes I realize that the mostly R Congress during Bush 2 bears much of the blame for the spending. But we did have a couple of major expenditures going on at the time, that both R's and D's voted to authorize. Did it last too long? Of course, nobody (in their right mind) wants war to last a day longer than necessary.

Lets place the majority of the blame or credit where it belongs, with Congress who holds the purse strings. Maybe I'll start calling it Pelosicare, or Reidcare.

Back to the Wall

Based on a critical interpretation of Marie's article and experience with permitting procedures, I can confidently say this isn't about the sand. The denial is based on the proposed fill or dredge in wetlands.

Wetlands are defined as "Waters of the State" and Part 303 of the State of Michigan's Public Act 451 requires certain conditions be upheld to preserve the public trust in these waters.

Under state law the DEQ cannot grant the permit unless the applicant proves that the public trust is not violated.

The feds have jurisdiction because this part of Spring Lake is a Section 10 waterway, that it is considered contiguous with the Great Lakes. Evidently the feds and state are in agreement here.


Yep, I don't see the problem. If we just let anyone do whatever they want with our public lands (like dumping, dredging wetland, etc...) this world will be much crappier than it already is.

This isn't a case of an evil big government killing all the fun like Vlad thinks, it is simply the government protecting natural resources.

Modify the plans to fit within regulations and then build the beach. It's not a huge deal.


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