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Grand Haven
'It's been a long road'

A pair of local ice cream shops, displaced from Chinook Pier due to mold issues, are finally opening their doors in their new location.

Dairy Creme owners Russell and Renee Roberts opened for business Friday at the Depot building, and neighboring Temptations will follow suit Saturday.

“It’s been a long road, with everything that’s happened,” Russell Roberts said Friday afternoon. “With Chinook Pier getting closed down, then deciding to move over here, we started construction – then COVID-19 stopped that. We would have been open May 1 if it hadn’t been for that.

“Then, three weeks ago, we started back on construction,” he added, “and boom, we’re open today.”

The Murray family bought Temptations in 1989 and had operated the business in the same location at Grand Haven’s Chinook Pier for more than 30 years.

“You can feel bad about it for about five minutes,” said Kelly Larson, who began working at Temptations even before her parents bought the business. “Then, once the realization sinks in, we’ve been in ‘go’ mode.”

Larson said that while losing their spot in Chinook Pier was disappointing, she’s hopeful the Depot will be as popular a spot for those wanting to buy frozen treats.

“Temptations, it’s almost like a partnership with all the walkers on the boardwalk,” she said. “And that’s what Chinook Pier is – a starting spot on the boardwalk. To find a comparable location was a challenge, but the Depot came to mind quickly because we had put in a proposal to be in the Depot a few years back.”

It’s been a significant investment of time and money to move the business the several hundred yards downriver to its new location.

While new doors open at the 150-year-old Depot, the end is near for Chinook Pier. Demolition is set to begin Monday on the three buildings that have been condemned due to mold issues.

“It’s emotional now that we’ve made it through,” Larson said. “I’m going to be sad when they knock down Chinook Pier, and so are my parents. We spent a ton of time there. But I don’t think we could have landed at a more beautiful location. … We hope to be a good tenant and we hope this is a good fit so we can stay here a long time.”

Ashley Latch, assistant to the Grand Haven city manager, was on-site Friday to do final inspections at Temptations.

“I’m working on all the building inspection follow-ups, making sure everybody’s ready to get going,” she said. “It’s been a long time coming. … It’s only fitting that I’m splitting my time between salvage day at Chinook Pier, getting ready for demolition next week, and getting these guys open and ready for a new start.”

Russell Roberts said the new location is the best possible scenario once it was announced they had to leave Chinook Pier.

“I think this could be as good or better as Chinook Pier, but you never know until you get going,” he said of the old downtown train Depot. “It’s going to be different this year because there’s no Musical Fountain going. I don’t know if Worship on the Waterfront will go. Coast Guard and the fireworks are canceled. There’s not a lot of other things people can go do, but ice cream is one of the great things you can get out and do.”

Ottawa County
Road work to temporarily close 68th Ave. bridge

EASTMANVILLE — Upcoming road work will take a bridge over the Grand River out of use for roughly two months.

Work on the 68th Avenue bridge will begin June 8 and is expected to continue to July 31.

“This is going to result in that bridge being closed,” said Alex Doty, the communications administrator for the Ottawa County Road Commission. “When all is said and done, we are going to have a better bridge.”

Doty noted a new overlay will be put on the bridge, joints will be replaced and more.

“It’s quite a busy route,” he said. “We understand this is going to be inconvenient for folks.”

Commuters will be detoured along Leonard Street or Lake Michigan Drive for this roughly $1.36 million project.

Other Road Commission projects drivers may see in Northwest Ottawa County this summer include resurfacing a portion of Lakeshore Drive in Grand Haven Township. The project is expected to cost around $1.2 million, with $620,000 coming from a county road millage voters approved “a while back,” Doty said.

In Spring Lake Township, 148th Avenue will be resurfaced from Leonard Street to Fruitport Road. This project is expected to cost $1.6 million, with $800,000 funded from the millage.

“As construction season moves along, we encourage people to view our website to stay up-to-date on our projects,” Doty said, noting that people can check the Road Commission’s social media pages, as well.

More information about road work in the county can be found at

A race against time

The catastrophic flooding that swept across Central Michigan last week has had myriad effects on the Midland and surrounding communities. The area’s historical structures were not immune, with a pair of museums flooding, causing irreparable damage to a portion of the artifacts housed there.

Jared Yaz, curator of collections at the Tri-Cities Historical Museum in Grand Haven, has been leading up the recovery efforts, which he called “a race against the clock” in an effort to preserve as much history as possible.

Yax is one of just two nationally certified Heritage Emergency First Responders in Michigan, professionally trained by the Smithsonian and FEMA to respond to disasters impacting museums.

Yax rushed to Midland late last week and has spent the past several days scrambling to help set up operational support systems and lending expertise to the ongoing artifact recovery efforts. Both the Midland County History Center and the Sanford Centennial Museum were impacted by the flooding.

“Both museums were anywhere from 24 inches to 5 feet under water, so a large portion of their collections were submerged and damaged by the water,” Yax said. “I’m out here essentially to create organization in the chaos and lend my expertise on how we can preserve and protect a lot of these artifacts.”

Despite the efforts of Yax and many other experts and volunteers, not everything will be saved.

“Both museums will lose a certain portion of their collections,” he said. “It’s an ongoing conservation effort. We won’t know the extent for weeks or even months.”

Yax helped streamline efforts with more than 350 volunteers and staff to evacuate 12,000 artifacts from the Midland County History Center. Approximately a quarter of those artifacts were damaged by floodwaters.

The process of preserving damaged artifacts varies depending on the artifact itself.

“Anything paper-related would need to be frozen to stop mold growth,” Yax said. “We’re cleaning other artifacts using distilled water to rinse away mud and residue.”

Yax said they’re still in the process of rescuing items from the Sanford museum.

“It’s really sad to see the artifacts that are damaged,” he said. “You go into that mode of trying to rescue whatever you can. It’s similar to a firefighter – you’re trying to rescue everything as quickly as you can. You’ve only got 48-72 hours before the mold sets in. Wood absorbs water and starts to expand. Leather dries out fast and starts to crack and disintegrate. It’s really a race against the clock to see what you can save.”

Yax said there were more than 350 museum staff and volunteers helping at the Midland site and about 50 volunteers at the Sanford site. That includes staff from museums across the state, including several from the Tri-Cities Historical Museum. TCHM staff members Erin Pilarski (curator of education), Kate Crosby (curator of exhibits) and Connie Locker (development and membership manager) drove to Midland on Memorial Day and spent several hours assisting in the artifact recovery and removal effort at the Midland County History Center.

“As trained museum professionals, staff from the Tri-Cities Historical Museum served as group leaders, directing teams of volunteers in properly handling and removing the remaining artifacts from the flooded buildings while adhering to health and safety rules set forth for themselves, volunteers, and the artifacts and archives,” TCHM Director Julie Bunke said. “The Tri-Cities Historical Museum is proud to have our curatorial staff serving Michigan museums during this devastating time of need. We are grateful and lucky to have such talented and dedicated individuals as part of our team helping to protect and preserve Michigan history.”