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City OKs $310K catwalk repair project

Alex Doty • Jan 17, 2017 at 8:00 AM

Grand Haven City Council has given the go-ahead to start the first portions of repair and renovation work on the south pier’s catwalk.

On Monday night, council unanimously approved a $310,000 contract with The King Co. of Holland to conduct the first two phases of the $895,000 project.

"A significant portion of the catwalk will be replaced with new steel," City Manager Pat McGinnis said. "This fix will be very permanent."

The King Co.’s proposal includes replacement of up to 53 of the 59 bents — the “A”- and “H”-like structures that support the catwalk — with newly fabricated bents made of American steel. Two bents of each style, six in total, will be preserved to keep the historic authenticity of the structure.

"It's better to go new," Mayor Geri McCaleb said of the plan. "That's what we decided was the best use of everyone's money."

McCaleb said it is important to build something that will stand the test of time.

"It would not be good to do a Band-Aid fix on some of the pieces and have the rust reappear in a short amount of time," she said.

Because of the overall cost to complete the entire catwalk project, work will be broken down into phases. This plan gives the city time to get started immediately with cash on hand, and future phases will be recommended as resources become available.

"We haven't raised that much money yet, so we're recommending we break this down into five different phases," McGinnis said.

These phases are:

(1) Purchase all American-made steel: $250,000

(2) Restore Type I bents: $60,000

(3) Restore Type II bents: $250,000

(4) Restore Type Ill bents: $220,000

(5) Replace catwalk on pier: $114,800

McGinnis said the city has about $240,000 on hand at the Grand Haven Area Community Foundation, with a strong possibility of more funding coming in from additional resources and as Save the Catwalk fundraising efforts continue.

Fundraising efforts ramp up

Save the Catwalk organizers hope to get a boost in their fundraising efforts during an event at the Grand Haven Eagles on Saturday, Jan. 28. The event, from 2-6 p.m., includes wine and beer tasting, as well as live and silent auctions.

To give the fundraiser a boost, the city has agreed to match up to $10,000 of what's raised during the event.

“This is great because they did the same thing last year,” Save the Catwalk Chairwoman Erin Turrell said of the city’s commitment.

Turrell noted that the overwhelming messages she’s heard from the public is that they miss the catwalk and can’t wait for it to get repaired and put back on the pier.

The Crane Foundation has also agreed to match up to $10,000 raised during the Eagles fundraiser.

“One dollar gets three — it’s wonderful,” Turrell said.

People interested in contributing to the project can donate to the Save the Catwalk Fund at the Grand Haven Area Community Foundation.

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