Community Volunteers Needed To Help Join In And Clean Up Oval Beach On July 30th
It was a group of local resident that called for an “Oval Beach Community Clean Up Day,” Saugatuck City officials said Tuesday.
“Normally, we have a lot of beach frontage. But this year due to unusually high waters, there’s been a lot of beach erosion—we have dunegrass debris all over the beach and we are just trying to keep it clean,” Saugatuck City Clerk Monica Nagel told The Local Observer.
The mess is mostly natural debris, with some other trash, and covers Oval Beach as well as the adjacent Saugatuck Harbor Natural Area, she added.
The city is inviting the public to join Saugatuck Oval Beach Manager Linda Bultman and the beach staff on Thursday, July 30 from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m. to help keep the local treasure clean and tidy.
“We’ll provide gloves and garbage bags. We are asking people to bring their own rakes,” said Nagel.
The event comes on the heels of city officials’ recent announcement they had to have the City of South Haven’s beach cleaner sweep Oval Beach right before 4th of July because the company the city used to hire to perform the job went out of business.
The South Haven cleaner was a one-time deal for a $900 cost, said Nagel.
“Until we get our own cleaner, we are doing it manually. Occasionally, we do get a debt crew (inmates from the Allegan County Jail overseen by a deputy) to go out there. But we had some residents ask if it was possible to get some volunteers to help,” she said.
As for a beach cleaning machine, city staff has its eye on one—at an estimated price between $25,000 and $26,000—but now it’s a matter of finding a tractor with the appropriate specs to pull the machine, estimated to cost an additional $25,000 to $30,000, city officials have announced.
In part to generate funding to expand the beach parking lot, the city this season increased the parking lot entrance fees from $6 to $8 for daily usage and $40 to $50 for seasonal passes.
However, there was no increase for seasonal passes for residents and local taxpayers, staying at the $20 rate.
The last increase at Oval Beach occurred in 2010.
Along with the entrance fee change, the city for the first time also offered motorists the option to pay with credit cards which is helping generate additioanl revenues.