Blending the old with the new

Alex Doty • Apr 27, 2017 at 10:00 AM

City leaders took a closer look Monday night at how the future of Waterfront Stadium — and the old train depot — will look like once redeveloped later this year.

Architects from Progressive AE presented updated designs to Grand Haven City Council, highlighting a new addition to the depot to tie into the renovated stadium.

The presentation follows designs shown to council in March that highlighted possible depot expansion options.

The proposed addition is designed as an extension to the depot, and it continues the roof line to the north side of the building. It adds restrooms, a ticketing area, a small catering kitchen and a public service/concessions area.

Mayor Geri McCaleb said the design presented by architects Monday night is a good plan.

“I think it looks great,” she said. “It blends well with the old to the new building.”

Style-wise, the addition shares similarities to the architecture of the existing depot, and the existing building and new area are separated by a glass foyer.

Councilman Mike Fritz said it keeps to the character of the building, which was built 1871 and has been leased to the Tri-Cities Historical Museum since 1972.

“Compared to the last presentation that we had before, this one is much better,” Fritz said. “The addition you had before was way too modern.”

Related: City discusses ways to integrate train depot, Waterfront Stadium

Others on City Council also thought favorably of the design.

“I think it’s well done and well thought-out,” Councilman Bob Monetza said.

Monetza said the only concern he had with the design was trying to continue the roof line from the existing depot to the addition.

“To me, the depot building is quite significant,” he said. “The look and character needs to be preserved as much as possible.”

City Manager Pat McGinnis said it is “critical” that the city continue to move forward with the project in order to meet a goal of approving bids in July and breaking ground on the project in September.

“I think we’re ready to move forward with this essential design,” he said. “I’d like them to really get rolling with this.”

It’s estimated that the stadium redevelopment project — including the new amphitheater and depot addition — will cost in the neighborhood of $3.3 million to $3.5 million.

“(That) is what we’re looking at to do everything right now, including the stadium,” McGinnis said, noting that fundraising efforts are nearing that number.

City leaders also say they’re beginning to put together a plan for the future use of the depot space once the museum moves out.

Related: Gallery of the Week: Inside the Train Depot Museum

“City Council has really indicated to me that we don’t want another Community Center on the waterfront,” McGinnis said.

With that goal in mind, McGinnis said the city needs to determine how to select a new user, and what values they would place on what type of use should go to the building.

“We’ve got a stated interest from at least three different parties that they would like to be in there,” McGinnis said.

City Council plans to discuss how to evaluate potential users of the depot space during its May 1 meeting.

Last year, council approved conceptual plans for the stadium revamp. The new design will replace the stadium-style bleacher setup with tiered seating built into the landscape, a new band shell and stage, a waterfront lawn area for additional seating, space for volleyball and seasonal recreation, winter fire pits, restroom and dressing room facilities, and various sculptural and decorative elements.

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