Council blew decision

To the Editor: With Halloween just around the corner, it looks like the community will get "tricked" out of a really awesome Christmas light show for families and friends.
Sep 23, 2013


Little kids will not have the pleasure to dream about Santa Claus and the elderly will be very disappointed.

With all that Brad Boyink has done for the community, why not let him have his shot at doing something again that would have been a total blessing to all, including the downtown businesses.

A group of friends and I were going to Christmas shop downtown Grand Haven and then eat at local restaurants, and then finish the night off at local bars. I always spend around $1,000 each Christmas, but some of my friends spend a lot more. This year, because of council's poor decision, we will go out of town to shop at the Muskegon mall and their area establishments.

You blew it, Grand Haven City Council. What a stab in the back to Brad Boyink!

Terry Hinds
Spring Lake


Grand Haven Happy

Very well said and we've heard many of the same type comments also.


OK Terry and GH Happy, I understand and don't disagree with your take on the issue. However, I have to wonder if chastising the retailers of Grand Haven because of the council decision is appropriate. If it was the individual retailers that made the decision it would be one thing, even then I would single out the retailer involved and not boycott the entire town. If that is your take on the whole thing then you might just as well leave Grand Haven, or go to the extreme and leave Michigan, or the U.S. for that matter.

Emotions are a little tight at this time over this decision; who’s to say what is right or wrong? The people we have in place to make decisions made one, if you don’t like it then they are the ones to hear from you.

Sounds a lot like you’ll play by my rules or you won’t play at all. Why is that? Because it’s my ball, that’s why! I’ll take my ball and go home and then nobody will get to play!

Grand Haven Happy


DUH! I have lived in Grand Haven and the very local area for over 70 years and have worked with the city etc on various attended projects and venues for more than 25 years before I had retired. I know what's going on but it's vividly clear you DO NOT!

Also, our family had owned retail shops and businesses here even longer than I've been alive. Perhaps you shouldn't try to put your total ignorance of the subject and situation on me as you don't even have a clue!

The light show downtown would have brought throngs of people to the downtown, both local and from out of town, and it's people who make a downtown work and be financially healthy. Note! You can lead a horse to water but you can't MAKE them drink unless they are enticed to do so! Few people means few sales! nnalBasically, no traffic in the downtown means NO customers and it's the customers who spend their money where they want to and especially if they are catered to in subliminal pleasant ways. Give them a reason to even be down there in the winter and you have the customers that are needed for the merchants shops. The sidewalks are clear of snow as are the parking lots and most of the buildings are linked together inside with passages and yes, they are well heated buildings or haven't you noticed?

Do you live under a rock somewhere? Come out from under it and look around mt boy! Try to grasp an understanding of Successful Business and economics 101. Maybe you could even go back to a school somewhere and actually learn something!


GH Happy - Did you read or comprehend what I stated? I agree with you and Terry about the light show but don't think boycotting Grand Haven business is fair either. Terry said he and his friends would shop elsewhere; I disagree with that plan of action. Where does all the hostility and insinuations come from about that?


According to a few GH City Council members, the downtown area is always busy so a little boycott shouldn't hurt their bottom line.


Your right, maybe it would bring some business to the local stores. It would all depend on how many people would want to get out of their cars and walk around though. I don't see how you would blame the businesses & council though. Why would anyone what to execute a poorly laid out plan. There was no clear answers for logistics, i.e. where would customers and residents park. I understand everyone can find places to park during Coast Guard but, if I had a store or residence, I wouldn't want to park a few blocks away to walk in what could be freezing temps. Also, questions that he said he had answers for he didn't. This was evident in the council meeting. So why would anyone expect the council to move forward on this when the organizer had it poorly planned and lied about some aspects that were planned?

Grand Haven Happy

For crying out loud, the light show was only planned for one street and the other streets would be open as usual including the many parking lots behind the stores which nearly all have rear entrances also. Once inside any store, customers could go thru to many other stores and never have to go back outside until they went to their vehicle to leave. What a bunch of meaningless excuses!

With a little help and enthusiasm form the city council, all the loose ends of Brads plan could have been secured. Well, it's to late now and perhaps you several stick-in-the-mud vocal nay sayers have seen the tribune poll and what the citizens of Grand Haven are saying and THEY are the very customers the downtown businesses wanted/wants to come to their businesses. GH really missed out on an opportunity and the opportunities don't come by every day or every year. How DUMB! Many can and will go elsewhere to shop because of this ignorance and I'm sorry to say that it includes us!

Instead of trying to pick apart my words and comments, why don't you nay sayers simply and finally do something for your city like Brad has done for so many years? So many of you and your comments reveals that you do not even have the slightest clue of making a downtown area work and it shows so much better than wearing a bright lighted red arm band!


Is anyone really believing Mr. Boyink did not put forth a well thought out logistics plan as Skodie is suggesting? If you really think this maybe you should look at the board packet that shows detailed charts of traffic flow, insurance papers, and an overview from public safety approving the plan. You can look for yourself here:

I was at the meeting and I can tell you that details were covered, and anything asked of public safety was in his report. There were very few things Mr. Boyink and Director Hawke did not have some answers to, but it was apparent that this was the first time anyone had said something about these perceived problems. I'm not sure what was proven wrong as between Mr. Boyink and Director Hawke answers seem to be consistent. And only one store owner seems to have a totally different view. I'm not sure she even looked over any of the material. I recommend viewing the meeting video:

I have no doubt there were still details to work out, but to say Mr. Boyink was lying to people and didn't have any of the logistics figured out is not true. There is a paper trail to prove he did. Everyone is entitled to an opinion, but if you are going to make one that attacks someone, make sure it is an educated opinion.

But lets face it, none of our opinions matter, for or against it. It's not going to happen so why keep putting salt in the wounds. I commend Mr. Boyink and all involved for all they have done for us over the years. You made us smile and did a lot of good.


Bad planning creates bad performances. From what I understand, Brad was shooting from the hip when trying to create this whole thing. Through the whole ordeal he was giving different answers to the same questions. This was proven in the council meeting when this topic came up. There is nothing wrong with having ideas, however, the idea needs to be carefully thought out. From the information that I have, it doesn't sound like the person who wrote this letter has all the facts. It's always easier to blame someone else for your poorly planned idea.


There were a lot of issues that probably went into the decision. What about traffic flow. It was not for a night but for many days.

That would take a lot of officers to control traffic. Where would all the cars be parked if people decided to stay downtown. Hundreds upon hundreds of vehicles.

Where the downtown mechants contacted and dod they give input?

Just maybe the logistics just didn't work out.

Its a nice show, but can be a hassle.


Why play ball with a sketchy team? It is a loss for GH and Special Olympics.

papa bear

Its just sad that the special olympics lose out because of the decision made by council,shame on them


They don't lose out because of a council decision, it's because Brad was acting like a kid because he was told no. He was lying to people, which was proven in the meeting, and he didn't have any of the logistics figured out. Don't blame the council. The Special Olympics are losing out because of one person's ignorant, child like behavior. If he cared that much, being told no would have no bearing on the Special Olympics. This whole thing sounds like a council was made the scapegoat to me.

Blue Ink

Skodie, I do not know were you are getting your information, but if you attended, or watched the video, of the city council meeting, you would know that Brad presented a detail plan that was approved by the Grand Haven Director of Public Safety. He did mention that like every plan there might be a need to make some adjustments, like the city has been doing for years for Coast Guard traffic. The merchants did not want it, period, and the city council vote 3 to 2 to reject the plan. I agree with Terry, the downtown merchants have lost my business.


Questions were asked to the Director of Public Safety and the answers he was giving where conflicting with the answers given by the organizer.


Which merchants are they referencing too??? I really don't know where you would spend $1000.00 on xmas gift in the downtown area. Most of the stores prices are so high you can travel north or SE and get them much much cheaper. Yes their are a couple great stores in the downtown area that have made a difference.. But I say to the old store which have the same old stuff on the selves along with 3 inches of dust from when I was a kid still on it... and charging a months rent for the product... these stores needs to move on...Spring lake has some many closed up store front on M-104... No wonder the taxes are so high... How does South Haven and Holland keep those nice cute stores open year round???? Grand Haven and Spring Lake needs to take some lessons.


They let people shop after 5 and some are open on Sunday.

Blue Ink

I know Brad, and I’m aware that he has had offers to sell his lights to several cities who, are you ready for this, want to decorate their downtown to encourage people to shop in their towns with a holiday spirit. I’m guessing their merchants, city council, and volunteers will be working together to make it a reality. Translation – this was a good idea, just not for Grand Haven. End of story. With the exception, I’m confident with Skodie’s passion and emotion for the positive, she will be replacing Brad’s volunteer hours that he has given to the city the past 18 years with a new chapter of giving back to the community.


"This year, because of council's poor decision, we will go out of town to shop at the Muskegon mall and their area establishments." LOL! Go ahead Terry, shop at the mall, buy yourself something to wear from Vics Secret and then grab a bite to eat at the food court ,followed by a cold beer at Booyahs . What's lost in all of this is Christmas is about Jesus Christ, I'm sure the food bank, Love Inc or First Priority could use your $1000 bucs !


Oh please! Lets talk about the elephant in the room. Who really shops downtown Grand Haven anyway. Seriously. I was born here. While I am a professional now, I come from a blue collar family and like most of us in this town, I don’t shop downtown. Never have. Why would I?

newspaperlawyer hit the nail on the head.
“Yes their are a couple great stores in the downtown area that have made a difference.. But I say to the old store which have the same old stuff on the selves along with 3 inches of dust from when I was a kid still on it... and charging a months rent for the product... these stores needs to move on...”

All my blue collar and the majority of my white collar friends feel the same and they won’t shop down town either. I grew up in this town and have always known that people who shop downtown are mostly the white collar professional’s wives supporting one of her friends little trinket shops or art gallery that her hubby set her up in to giver her something to do. Selling crap nobody really wants or needs …hence the 3” of dust! as one example.

And why on God’s earth would you want to even go downtown at all now that they have a stop sign on every corner! (Seems to me Grand Haven has experience at creating traffic jambs) When I first started driving in the 70’s Washington ave had a traffic light timing problem also. Back then we were told that the merchants wanted it that way so that it would force people to spend more time in front of their store so that maybe they would park and come in and buy something… LOL! I’m sure they are using the same failed logic on US31.
I don’t know about you but I buy most things online now …I mean this is 2013 and it is the trend of the future…. or at a store with a real parking lot and I can get in and out quickly and easily with out being forced to spend my time at stop signs in front of banks, jewelry stores and trinket shops and not to mention hitting every stop light on US31 on the way in and out of town!

But on a positive note: Downtown Grand Haven is a fun place to walk around and window shop at night if you’re not planning on buying anything more than a cup of coffee or just to hit the Tip-a-Few. Everything else is closed or way over priced for the working man!
...Just Sayin


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