Residents & Visitors Enjoy Public Boardwalk Thanks To Saugatuck's Creative License Deals
The public boardwalk along the Kalamazoo River that locals and visitors alike can enjoy in the City of Saugatuck may be taken for granted, particularly if one does not take into consideration that it mostly traverses through private property, Saugatuck City officials noted during Monday’s meeting.
That private/public arrangement is possible via a special municipal license agreement between the city and various riverfront property owners that the Saugatuck City Council reviewed and then approved on Monday.
In exchange for a license that allows property owners to dock their boats along the river at city-owned street ends or city-owned parcels or both, the city secures the boardwalk for public use and generates revenue from fees it charges for those licenses.
The terms of the licenses differ according to whether it’s a street-end or city parcel: one year for the former and five years for the latter.
“Really, it’s a win-win for everyone. The public gets access to the waterfront, property owners get access to the waterfront for boats, and the city gets revenue (some $32,000 for 18 agreements),” said Saugatuck City Manager Kirk Harrier.
“The boardwalk is huge. You can walk from Coghlin Park all the way to the Chain Ferry,” he added.
The licensee is responsible for getting public liability insurance and dealing with maintenance (free of debris, in orderly condition).
The council said it was pleased with the program and officials highlighted the city’s investment.
“We have definitely had tens of thousands of dollars of improvements put into those street ends,” said Saugatuck City Council Member Mark Bekken.
A typical street-end agreement, one that entails usage for half of a 66-foot street-end, will cost a licensee $2,033 for 2014.
That amount is calculated by applying the current Consumer Price Index at $61.63 per foot. The pricing for a 50-foot street-end is different at $28.02 per foot.
For example, a licensee using all 50 feet would end up paying the city $1,401 for the year..
The street ends include South Butler, Francis, Griffith, Hoffman, Lucy, Mason, Spear, Interlaken and Perryman streets.
The city parcels include Cook Park and the existing dock south of the Saugatuck-Douglas Museum and Van Dalson.