A show of appreciation

Alex Doty • Sep 14, 2017 at 8:00 AM

Save the Catwalk organizers served up a special treat Wednesday for the crew working on the Grand Haven south pier reconstruction project.

Committee members were joined by city and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers officials to deliver lunch to the workers on the pier as a show of appreciation for the job they’ve done thus far.

“We wanted to come out here and give them some lunch, and let them feel good about what they’re doing and be appreciated, because a lot of times I think they haven’t been,” said Erin Turrell, chairwoman of the Save the Catwalk Committee. “It’s about time we came out and did something for them because they’re working very hard.”

The Save the Catwalk Committee was able to tour the pier and view the progress that has been made while the construction workers ate their lunch.

RELATED: Photo Gallery: South pier reconstruction tour

“It’s awesome to see this and to see how far they’ve come in the period of time they’ve been able to work,” Turrell said. “The surface itself is beautiful. They’re really doing a nice job, and it is exciting for me to see there is progress and that we’re eventually going to get there.”

Turrell noted that the site visit gave her and other members of the committee a better idea of the conditions in which the construction crew work.

Corps of Engineers officials have said south pier work has been challenged by a number of elements, from high water to winds and waves on Lake Michigan.

“You can see how high the water is right now,” Turrell pointed out. “Any wave action we’ve seen from boats that have come down the channel, it’s making an impact on what they can and can’t do.”

Former Grand Haven resident Josh Fisher — who joined his brother, Brad, on Wednesday’s tour with the committee — said it was cool to visit the construction site while he visited from out of state.

“I feel privileged to be out here while construction is going on and see a little bit of the old pier, because about half of it is done,” he said. “And it’s really neat to see the new, as well.”

Fisher said the last time he was out to the pier was two years ago, and he said he’ll be happy to see the whole project completed.

“It’s a little bit of a shock to see the new concrete, but it will be nice when it is done,” he said.

The more than $3 million Army Corps of Engineers project is expected to be completed by June 2018, officials say. Once the pier repair project is complete, the catwalk can be replaced on it.

“The Army Corps and the Save the Catwalk Committee are on a tandem bike, and we can’t put the catwalk back on until they’re done working on the pier,” Turrell said. “We’re on the back of the bicycle waiting as they’re steering this project.”

Save the Catwalk organizers say that while they wait for their opportunity to replace the catwalk, they continue to fundraise toward their $1 million goal. Money will be used to help pay the cost of removing the catwalk from the pier, fabricating replacement catwalk parts and eventually putting the catwalk back on the pier.

“I’m very confident that we’re going to be all right,” Turrell said. “We’re already over $860,000, and there’s other stuff coming in that isn’t included.”

For more information on the catwalk effort, see its website at www.ghcatwalk.org. Donations can be sent to the Save the Catwalk Fund, 1 S. Harbor Ave., Grand Haven, MI 49417.

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