Access to the day use area remains available through the park’s south gate, closer to the pavilion, said Park Supervisor Matt Shaver. The day use area will close Oct. 1, as usual. The channel lot, known as the fisherman’s parking lot, is open year round.
The first phase, completed several years ago, included improvements to the channel and northeast parking lots, a new campground office, campsite extensions and sidewalk improvements.
Phase two, most of which is expected to be completed in early November, includes reconstruction of the parking lots on the lakeshore side, new sidewalks, a wider turn radius at the entry gate and an improved food court area.
Steel parking bumpers that are unique to the Grand Haven park will be replaced because of their historic value, Shaver said. Ten trees have been ordered to replace those that were removed, but the new trees will be planted in a different location.
Shaver said the park also received a grant to build a new restroom building on the channel. That work is expected to be done in the spring at a cost of about $750,000.
The combined cost of the first and second phases is about $2.8 million, Shaver said. Phase three, which will add another 200 parking spaces on the north end of the parking area, will cost almost $1 million.
During the third phase, changes will be made to the picnic and volleyball areas, but those are still being discussed, said Shaver.
The park supervisor said when the work is done this year it will look like it’s half done. With phase three, “there’s an end process that will tie everything together.”
Shaver said he expects all of the work to be done by 2020, and hoped that it will take the park many years into the future.
A study is also being done on the pavilion and future repair or renovation, he said.
Shaver said the phase two work was accelerated because of funds voted by the Michigan Legislature that had to be used prior to the end of the year.
Shaver said Grand Haven State Park is one of the top five parks in the state as far as use and income.
“This park is a money maker,” he said. “People come from all over the world to see it.”
Shaver said the state recognizes the state park’s importance and is allocating money for improvements accordingly.