More fundraising details revealed for catwalk

Alex Doty • Jan 11, 2016 at 12:00 PM

A staple on Grand Haven’s south pier since 1921, Grand Haven’s catwalk has seen 95 winters of wind, waves and ice — all of which have taken a toll on the structure.

In all, Grand Haven’s catwalk is made up of 59 “bents,” or arches, each in a varying form of disrepair. Some need repair while others need to be replaced.

“When you walk on the pier, you don’t pay attention to that stuff,” said Erin Turrell, a member of the Save the Catwalk steering committee. “There’s 10 super-bad ones.”

The current estimate to replace the necessary parts of the catwalk is $1.5 million, and Save the Catwalk committee members say they would like to get started on repairs soon, especially with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers looking at a pier repair project that could start as soon as this year.

According to Turrell, the catwalk needs to be raised up during the pier repair process or else it’d have to be removed, altering the identity of the Grand Haven pier.

Turrell noted that the repairs that do take place will be a piecemeal approach due to the cost of the project.

“There’s no way $1.5 million will magically appear by June,” she said, noting that project engineers would work on sections of the highest priority first.

The Save the Catwalk group has established several avenues for donations, and the Grand Haven Area Community Foundation has a fund established to handle the administration of project money.

Turrell noted that those who sponsor a large gift will have their names put on a bronze plaque, which will be embedded in the pedestals on each individual bent. The donor level for this is $2,500 a piece, and the catwalk structure can accommodate 177 individual recognitions contribution.

To help kick off fundraising efforts, the committee, in partnership with the local Eagles club, will host an event at the end of the month to gather money for catwalk repair. It is scheduled for 2-7 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 30, and will include beer and wine tasting, pizza, live music, a silent auction, children's magic show, crafts and games, and free hotdogs, chips and hot chocolate.

“What’s fun is it is at the tail end of Winterfest, so there will be lots of people downtown,” Turrell said.

The Eagles have also secured raffle tickets for someone to win up to $500. Tickets are available to purchase currently for $2 each at the Eagles, the Elks, the American Legion, Fortino’s, Hostetters, Sweet Temptations, City Hall and Frank’s Market.

For more information, call City Hall at 616-847-4888.

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