Grand Haven pier catwalk nears return

GRAND HAVEN, Mich. (AP) — Lake Michigan’s shoreline will welcome residents and visitors this summer who want to stroll alongside Grand Haven’s long-awaited pier catwalk.

Grand Haven City Manager Pat McGinnis recently announced that the iconic catwalk will return to its former home over the South Pier before July 26, the Grand Haven Tribune reported. The reinstallation will begin in May.

The city opted to remove the century-old catwalk in 2016 before the Army Corps of Engineers began a $2.1 million project to rebuild the pier. The South Pier reopened last August after being delayed by record high water levels in Lake Michigan.

The federal agency had planned to demolish the catwalk when it first proposed the pier resurfacing project in 2015, the Muskegon Chronicle reported. But Grand Haven officials and community members worked to raise more than $1 million to save the 100-year-old structure, which historically served as a way for lighthouse keepers to move safely along the dangerous pier.

Only a handful of the original “bents,” or arches that support the catwalk, were able to be restored because of structural deficiencies. The Grand Haven City Council last November commissioned the welding of new bents to replicate the old structure.

The work should be complete ahead of the reinstallation, which begins next month.

“It an iconic structure that defines what this community is,” said Erin Turrell, who led the fundraising campaign to bring the catwalk back. “When you’re out on a boat and you see the pier and the catwalk, you know that you’re home. You know you’re passing by Grand Haven. Without it being there, it’s been pretty vacant.”

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