How many people do you know who have a cottage in Grand Haven and spend their summers enjoying our beautiful town? How many others do you know who visit a friend’s cottage here every summer, attend Coast Guard Festival, spend time boating on our waters, and use the Grand Haven pier on a regular basis? I bet you can name several friends and family who fit into any one of these categories. And, probably many or all of them have seen and admired Grand Haven’s iconic catwalk that is part of our South pier.
If you’re reading this, there’s probably a good chance you actually live here in our little slice of heaven. There’s also a very high probability you have spent many summer evenings taking a walk along the pier, enjoying the warm breeze and watching the boats move in and out of the channel. What if I told you there’s a real chance that the distinctive catwalk on our pier that is pictured in numerous photographs and postcards may be removed?
You may have noticed the posters or fliers with our beloved lighthouse on them that have popped up all around town recently. The words, “Save the Catwalk” are displayed prominently on the posters as well. Some of these fliers were dropped off at Blueberry Haven, so I decided we should find out what these are all about.
Well, it didn’t take me long to figure out that “Save the Catwalk” means exactly what it says. The time has come for our South pier to be repaired, and the catwalk will need to be lifted temporarily and portions of it fixed at the same time. You can imagine the cost of this project isn’t cheap—$1.5 million to be exact! But, what’s the alternative? Unfortunately, if enough money isn’t raised our admired catwalk could be taken down. I can’t even imagine what the pier would look like without it. Bottom line: we need to “Save the Catwalk!
The good news is that there are some very dedicated people who are working hard to raise the money needed for the repairs. This group has scheduled the first fundraiser, entitled “Jumpstart the Catwalk” for this Saturday, January 30, from 2:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. at the Eagles (20 N. 2nd St., Grand Haven). There will be beer and wine tasting, pizza, live entertainment, raffles, and fun for kids. In addition, Blueberry Haven has set up a donation box in our store, and other merchants around town are selling tickets ($20 each) for the fundraiser this weekend. For more information about this exciting event, visit grandhaven.org.
This may be a small town, but there are plenty of “big time” people who have homes here and want to continue enjoying our pier in all its beauty. Grand Haven is home to a Big Ten basketball coach, a former U.S. Ambassador, a U of M Economics professor, many GVSU professors, a founder of a large Michigan drug company, presidents of several Fortune 500 companies, and the list goes on and on!
Remember that it doesn’t matter if you are a local here in Grand Haven, or if you are a summer resident, a one-time visitor, a Coast Guard Festival enthusiast, or a member of a neighboring community. The pier and the catwalk are used by all of us—not just our local residents, and we all need to work together to save it. Please pass this information on to everyone you know who loves our pier the way we do and wants to help with our mission to “Save the Catwalk!”
Final thought: Maybe we should charge a toll to raise money. Now, that’s something to think about…