OUR VIEWS: Protecting waterfront access crucial

May 7, 2012


When our community depends upon tourism dollars, not having a pretty waterfront proved to be a bit of a problem.

That’s when the city and community leaders stepped in. They clearly saw the problem and worked to resolve it. Through the years, the city bought up waterfront properties, tore down dilapidated buildings, put up buildings and renovated eyesores. They put in the boardwalk, and invited tourists and community members alike to gather at the river.

It made good sense then, and makes good cents now.

They made such good money, in fact, that the city is staying in the landlord business. The city brings in more than $200,000 a year in rents on properties that include Snug Harbor, Chinook Pier and the Riverview Shops.

Beyond that, the city maintains control of the waterfront and the look of the city’s gateway to the beach, and ensures water access to the public.

While it’s a slightly odd and risky investment strategy for a governmental body, real estate has proved to be a sound investment.

Now the waterfront is pretty. Now it attracts many more tourists. Having this visual appeal brings in business, too, and helps make the area economically viable. At a time when cities across the country have boarded up downtown windows, shuttered businesses and have seemingly given up on their present, Grand Haven marches on.

So kudos to the city for having the foresight to invest in our future. What a pretty present it is.


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