Homeowners along Grand Haven's Highland Drive may not have their views of Lake Michigan impeded by trees for much longer.

During a recent meeting, the Grand Haven City Council approved hiring Lakeshore Property Services for a three-year contract to restore the dune between Highland and Harbor drives, which has filled with invasive tree and shrub species.

“This is sort of a creative way to work with our neighbors there, mostly on Highland Drive, where they have some concerns about the landscaping across the street,” City Manager Pat McGinnis said.

McGinnis said the area, which is mostly wild, has been an ongoing topic as every so often the taller growing trees are cut to preserve the views of the lake. Each time the trees are cut, not by city employees or through a city-approved contract, an investigation is launched to find out what happened at the site.

“We thought this year, instead of continuing that idea of this back-and-forth, we would approach the neighbors and say, ‘Why don’t you guys help us cover the costs of removing that stuff and replanting native growth that would be relatively low-growing,’” the city manager said to council members.

Lakeshore Property Services provided a quote of $31,155 to plant native low-growing flora and maintaining the area for the next three years. Two residents of the area then offered to pay a combined $25,000 to cover the costs of the work to be done.

Council members each expressed their gratitude to the residents.

“I think this sounds like a huge improvement,” Mayor Geri McCaleb said. “I want to thank the two residents who stepped up and said they would fund the greatest portion of this. I appreciate that a lot. This helps them, it helps us, and it’s going to make that drive along Harbor look a whole lot better.”

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