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Final touches added to Chinook Pier Park improvements

Krystle Wagner • Jun 29, 2016 at 12:00 PM

Earlier this week, plaques filled with the names of donors for the restoration projects for the park adjacent to the tall coal tipple along Grand Haven’s Jackson Street were installed near the old structure.

The plaques were attached to a 10-foot-long, 3-foot-high wall as a way to recognize community members and businesses who were part of the fundraising efforts to restore the tipple and Chinook Pier Park.

Last summer, a fundraising effort was launched to make improvements to the park. More than $90,000 was raised, and the improvements include new picnic tables, educational panels and a concrete path from the Farmers Market to the tipple. The project was aimed at preserving part of Grand Haven’s history while making it another location for people to visit, officials say.

“The coal tipple is a piece of history,” fundraiser organizer Ken Formsma said.

When the steam engine was the way to travel, Grand Haven saw about 80 arrivals and departures daily, Formsma said. People boarded the train at the current museum depot site.

The steam engine went through the area in the mid-1950s.

One other coal tipple still standing in Michigan is located in Durand, near Flint, but it isn’t approached like the one in Grand Haven, Formsma said.

Future improvements to the tipple and park will be made possible through an endowment at the Grand Haven Area Community Foundation.

With the project wrapped up, Formsma said he appreciates the community’s support.

“The historic commission and I are very grateful for people agreeing and being willing to contribute to a historic icon,” he said.

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