For reasons unknown to me, the only persons who’ve asked why I voted against the continuation of the sign on Dewey Hill have been Mike Smith and Cmdr. Brady of the U.S. Coast Guard. Both were very gracious in their response to my viewpoint, as well as I to theirs.
To me, this is not about the Coast Guard; it’s about Dewey Hill.
The hill was named after Adm. Dewey, who played an important role in the Spanish-American War. So by its very name, it is meant to honor a service member.
We haven’t always treated our hill very kindly. We’ve used it for the placement of a musical fountain; a light pole that can be a star, anchor or cross; as the backdrop for a Nativity scene; as a staging site for fireworks; and most recently as a site for a temporary sign to remind everyone that we are Coast Guard City USA.
Dewey Hill used to be much taller. Erosion from activity and time have taken its toll. Nothing in this world lasts forever, but I want to remind everyone that the mighty Dewey Hill is a fragile dune.
My chief concern in voting against the placement of this temporary sign is to let people know that when the door for groups to place signs promoting worthwhile activities is opened, it is not easily shut. This is a case in point. We all love and honor the men and women of our Coast Guard. We have displays and signs which testify to our love and respect. Council was asked to approve the placement of this sign for two years, which was approved twice by the narrow margin of one vote. However, now that the door has been opened, most members of the community want to leave it open.
How can the council tell other worthwhile city-based groups that they can’t use Dewey Hill to promote themselves or their causes? Is it OK to promote only city causes? How about other causes?
These are the questions I wrestle with as a council member. I was elected to represent everyone, and I’m trying to do that, the best way I know how.
Our old friend, Dewey Hill, won’t fall down tomorrow because of the uses we’ve made of it. However, I would hate for us to get in the habit of using it as our community billboard. Such constant and unrelenting use will hasten its demise. Help us to set reasonable limits on its use.
Grand Haven City Councilman