Waterfront Stadium project enters homestretch

Alex Doty • May 30, 2018 at 2:00 PM

About one month remains until the long-awaited Lynne Sherwood Waterfront Stadium project is finished.

The city has planned a ribbon-cutting ceremony for noon Thursday, June 21.

“We really think that everything will be wrapped up by then,” City Manager Pat McGinnis.

Work on the $3.2 million stadium construction project began last fall after nearly five years of planning. Community stakeholders began to brainstorm ideas, and eventually community meetings took place for the public to weigh in on what they wanted to see in a new stadium. A preliminary concept was developed based on those gathered ideas, which was again presented to the community for refinement before it was sent to City Council for approval in 2014.

The stadium’s new design includes tiered grass seating, a volleyball playing surface, seasonal ice rink, areas for dancing, a permanent band shell, winter fire pits, concession stand and flagpoles.

“It’s going to be very park-like and very attractive compared to how it was,” McGinnis said, noting that he thinks people will be impressed with how the new stadium will transform Grand Haven’s waterfront.

The cost of the project is covered by charitable donations and a state grant. A $3 million gift from Lynne Sherwood’s estate helped kick off the project. The funding was bolstered by $280,000 from the Michigan Department of Natural Resources Trust Fund, as well as a $674,900 local match and various corporate contributions.

McGinnis noted that the original project schedule called for an August 2017 start date and a Memorial Day 2018 completion. However, work didn’t begin until October, resulting in the completion date moved to June.

This meant changes needed to be made to this year’s Memorial Day events, as the post-parade ceremony — which typically happens at the stadium — instead took place at Grand Haven’s Central Park.

But city officials say the wait should be worth it.

“The overwhelming response, and the feeling that I got, is that it is much larger than I thought,” McGinnis said. “It is very impressive and it feels very different. I think people are going to recognize that for themselves.”

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