Grand Haven Tribune: New safety system approved for south pier
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New safety system approved for south pier

Alexander Sinn • May 21, 2019 at 9:00 AM

Piece by piece, the catwalk is going back up on the Grand Haven south pier.

While the new structure is meant to replicate the original one, a safety communication system will also be restored.

On Monday night, the Grand Haven City Council voted 4-1 to approve $83,573.49 of work to bring back the pier’s electrical and safety system, which was installed on the pier in the mid-2000s in response to drownings.

City Manager Pat McGinnis said the cost for the system was higher than anticipated, but will still be covered by a crowd-funded campaign held by the Grand Haven Area Community Foundation and will not impact the city’s General Fund.

City Facilities Manager Dan Vivian said the installation is expected to take a maximum of two weeks after the catwalk installation is completed. While July is the target for completion of the installation project, the timeline is at the mercy of rain and high water levels.

The city has contracted Midstate Security, which installed the original system, for the electrical work.

The communication system is connected to sections of “bents” that support the catwalk. It sends an alert to law enforcement and activates cameras when a lifesaving ring is lifted from its perch on the bent. 

While materials from the original system were intended to be reused, the old materials are now “obsolete.” However, Vivian said the project is costing less than the original work, which was around $100,000. 

City Councilman Bob Monetza voted against the contract because other bids were not pursued. Three bids are typically reviewed for many contracted projects, he said.

While Mayor Geri McCaleb and Councilman Dennis Scott agreed that more bids are normally expected, they supported the contract to ensure it was completed on schedule with the catwalk installation.

“I don’t want to risk not having it ready to go whenever the bents are ready,” McCaleb said. “It’s a pretty sophisticated alarm system and I think we’ll be very lucky to have it in operation. Hopefully, it will save lives out there.”

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