We commend Grand Haven City Council for suggesting a possible campground on Harbor Island at last year’s goal-setting session — and for identifying a consultant to provide layouts, cost estimates and feasibility analysis.
The $10,000 cost of the study is included in the city’s 2012-13 budget.
We encourage the council to move full-steam ahead.
The property on the north side of the Third Street Bridge is owned by the city, and is currently used by the Grand Haven Department of Public Works and other contractors as a dumping and storage site.
Before moving forward, however, an environmental study must be completed to make sure the area is safe for use as a campground. In the early- to mid-1900s, the site was used for many years as the city dump. In those days, there weren’t many regulations and it was common knowledge that toxic wastes were deposited there.
Obviously, the only way this project can move beyond the initial study phase is if the environmental study comes back with an all-clear report. The last thing we want is for a campground to be built in a place where children are playing in an unsafe, unhealthy environment.
Harbor Island already boasts a bike path, fishing spots, a boardwalk and boat launching ramps. A campground would tie in perfectly with the city’s awesome waterfront.
The transformation from a site now containing piles of refuse and chain-linked fencing to a beautiful campground would also greatly enhance the city’s gateway from the north, as the island is very visible from U.S. 31.
There’s little doubt the campground would be able to fill up sites. Just look at the Grand Haven State Park, which routinely has all 174 of its sites booked to capacity throughout the summer months.
And the best part in these trying economic times is that operating a campground could be a bonanza for the city’s budget. There would be initial development costs — but once operating, it could be a revenue producer.
City Manager Pat McGinnis said the city would only move forward with construction if it had City Council backing and it was determined that the campground would be self-sufficient.
Councilman Mike Fritz noted that money raised from the campground could be used to supplement other city funds.
It sounds like a win-win situation.
Our Views reflects the majority opinion of the members of the Grand Haven Tribune editorial board: Kevin Hook, Cheryl Welch, Matt DeYoung, Liz Stuck and Fred VandenBrand. What do you think? E-mail us a letter to the editor to firstname.lastname@example.org or log-in to our website and leave a comment below.