Keeping time again

Marie Havenga • Sep 8, 2017 at 10:00 AM

SPRING LAKE TWP. — A neighborhood’s clock tower where time stood still for the past decade is back to marking moments and chiming cheer, thanks to generous donations from its residents.

The 50-foot-tall clock tower has become an iconic entrance feature to the Wildwood Springs housing community, which was constructed a quarter-century ago on the west side of 174th Avenue, just north of Ferrysburg.

Developer Carroll Bos, father of well-known local developer David C. Bos, came up with the idea to install the clock tower as a focal point of the community.

The clock was installed on July 15, 1993, and it has kept time and chimed chronologically until about 10 years ago.

Marc Morin, president of the Wildwood Springs Homeowners Association, said he chatted with some long-time residents at a neighborhood potluck, and the idea to repair the clock was born.

Time no longer stands still

Residents and local businesses purchased commemorative bricks for $150 each to fund the clock’s $15,000 repair and upgrade project. They celebrated Thursday night with an ice cream social at the Wildwood Springs community building.

People were so generous that there's enough money left over to clean and maintain the clock for perhaps years to come.

After daylight saving time began or ended, someone would have to climb a huge ladder and reset the clock’s hands. With the upgrades, it's all automatic, running off a GPS satellite-connected system accurate to the second.

Morin said one resident, Alan Workman, who passed away three days before the clock restoration work was finished, purchased 23 bricks for the project.

“My hope was that it would be done by July of next year to celebrate the (community’s) 25th anniversary, but we had an overwhelming group of residents and local businesses that helped us make this happen,” Morin said. “I'm pleased to share that the clock is working, and it's state-of-the-art. It's accurate to the second, so you can set your watch to it.”

It's also energy efficient, with LED lighting upgrades.

The timepiece came from Belgium. Lumichron Clock Co. of Grand Rapids performed the upgrades.

“It sips power,” Morin said. “It sips electricity. It's really remarkable how technology has changed over the last 25 years.”

Jerry and Laney Schoenmaker were there when that original technology was installed 25 years ago. They remember ceremonial carriage rides during Wildwood Springs' open house.

“It took a long time to get it all together,” Jerry said of the clock tower repairs. “It didn't have the right time anymore. It's great that it's all fixed. We live right behind here, so we can hear it again. The bricks paid for it. There was no special assessment.”

Laney said it's good to have a working clock back in the community.

“It was so missed here,” she said.

Carole and Wil Groening were also around for the initial clock dedication.

“It's beautiful,” Carole said of the restored clock. “It's just cozy.”

Morin agreed.

“It's like we got a friend back,” he said.

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