Community members and visitors filled the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers parking lot on Saturday to celebrate the 10th anniversary of upgrades to the boardwalk and 35 years of supporting the city of Grand Haven with waterfront and pier projects.

Saturday's event offered visitors the opportunity to say "thank you" for the work the Corps of Engineers has done along the waterfront. 

"This is a typical thing for Grand Haven to do. It's wonderful. We are immensely blessed to live and work here," said Mary Linda Kittleman, wife of the late Ross Kittleman who was the chief engineer during the planning, construction and completion of the boardwalk. "He loved his community and the Corps. This was probably one of his favorite projects."

Chris Schropp, chief of the construction branch of the Corps of Engineers Lake Michigan Area Office, said previous to the construction of the boardwalk in the 1980s, there was no good way for people to walk along the waterfront. 

"A number of years ago when the boardwalk was just an idea, we never thought how big of a deal this would be," he said. "We're just glad the Corps could help out."

During the celebration, families could color shirt decals, get their faces painted and enjoy hot dogs, chips and ice cream. Children also could participate in cake walks on Saturday.

"It's unbelievable that the community comes together to celebrate a federal agency," said Tom O'Bryan, Corps of Engineers area engineer during the construction of the boardwalk. "The boardwalk was a perfect job for the city to work with the Corps on and the funds provided for the project will give a lifetime of enjoyment for the community."

The boardwalk connects downtown Grand Haven with the lakeshore at Grand Haven State Park.

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