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March 25, 2019 2:39 pm

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Saugatuck Council Approves Funding Of Long-Term Study Of Harbor's Siltation Issues

     Just as its counterpart across the bridge has already done, the Saugatuck City Council Monday night approved its share of $37,500 (of a total cost of $75,000), a funding request from Kalamazoo Lake Harbor Authority for a long-term study to address the continual siltation of the harbor, deemed the lifeblood of this resort community.

     But unlike the Douglas City Council, Saugatuck officials put contingencies on its approval: they want to review and approve the contract between the authority and Edgewater Resources, the engineering firm the authority selected among several companies to conduct the study.

     The $75,000 Edgewater proposal is the first part of a multi-phase project to improve the harbor. It is a study that will ultimately lead to a concrete plan and action for a long-term solution; it does not constitute the actual activity of  improving the river.

     Saugatuck officials want more of a handle on the details surrounding the study, such as the options for a solution as well as funding choices.

     “How exactly are you going to do that? And how are you going to pay for it?” asked Saugatuck City Manager Kirk Harrier. 

     “For Saugatuck council, they want to know what options they have and they want the public to understand how that is going to affect them financially (before they wholeheartedly jump on board for long-term study).”

     Edgewater Resources President Gregory Weykamp recently gave Saugatuck council a presentation about his firm’s proposal. 

     He briefly discussed two possible options: the placement of sediment traps upriver, pits dug at the river floor to capture the sediment, as well as channelization which is the creation of a dedicated river course to convey the flow out into the lake.

     Both options have “the potential to change the visual character of the water,” noted Weykamp.

     Funding sources could include, among others, a special assessment district, a community-wide special assessment, TIF (tax increment financing) and/or slip fees.

     Harrier said he would be in contact with the authority and Edgewater in the interest of fulfilling the council’s concerns.

     In a recent memo, Kalamazoo Harbor Authority Chair Bob Sapita extended the authority’s appreciation for the cities’ support of the body’s efforts, as the authority was able to secure dredging permits from state and federal regulatory agencies.

Saugatuck Council Approves Funding Of Long-Term Study Of Harbor’s Siltation Issues

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