City considers plans for depot remodel

Alexander Sinn • Oct 16, 2018 at 10:00 AM

Let in more light, or preserve historic architecture?

Those are the questions that Grand Haven City Council considered Monday as it viewed plans for the Grand Trunk Depot building.

The depot underwent renovations during the construction of Waterfront Stadium last year to create an interior that provides flex space of 2,300 square feet to allow for about 150 occupants, and a fixed vendor space that is about 1,000 square feet.

The former site of the Tri-Cities Historical Museum, itself a historic building constructed in 1870, may see the addition of several doors and taller windows on its waterfront side.

Kirsten Runschke, with local firm Architektura, presented four configurations for a new depot project to the council.

Mayor Geri McCaleb said she would like to see larger windows facing the riverfront. The plans include longer windows that extend to floor level. 

“The shame of having the windows as small as they are in the original is we have this spectacular view out the back and you’re looking at it through postal-stamp-size windows,” she said.

Councilman Bob Monetza said he would like to see little done to the original structure, such as finding new bricks to match the original ones.

“I think if we did try to change the arches or change the brick, it would look pretty strange by the time it was finished,” he said.

Councilman Josh Brugger agreed with Monetza that the original structure should be retained as much as possible. New doors and windows would be appropriate if they don’t disturb the appearance of the structure, he said.

“Bringing in brick from some other source makes me nervous,” he said.

The work will be a new project, according to City Manager Pat McGinnis, as the stadium project wrapped up this past spring. 

The council asked the architect to return in December with plans that do not add exterior brick while adding some doors and extending windows. The Grand Haven Historic Conservation District Commission will provide input on the plans. The city can then determine a cost and funding for the project, McGinnis said. 

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