Saugatuck & Douglas Will Not Be Jointly Developing One Plan To Deal With Harbor Issues
The cities of Douglas and Saugatuck will not be jointly submitting a proposed long-term Kalamazoo Harbor plan under the umbrella of the Kalamazoo Lake Harbor Authority as originally planned as they have chosen instead to do it separately.
The Saugatuck City Council unanimously approved the $37,500 Edgewater Resources contract at its Monday meeting.
The long-term plan is the first to go before Edgewater and is specific to Saugatuck.
The plan neither involves nor includes Douglas and does not name the authority as party to the services.
“We have discussed this plan numerous times,” announced Saugatuck Mayor Bill Hess. “We are (finally) making a move.”
Edgewater Resources President Gregory Weykamp was on hand to provide the city with a brief summary of the scope of services and answer questions.
“Will you still meet with (federal and state) regulatory agencies regardless if the City of Douglas signs off or not?” Saugatuck City Council Member Barry Johnson asked Weykamp, referring to one of several stipulations on Saugatuck’s contract which proved to be a point of contention for Douglas officials.
“Yes,” said Weykamp, responding to Johnson’s question.
Citing the need to enhance financial safeguards, Saugatuck officials modified the sequence of tasks in the scope of services contained in an initial version of the Edgewater proposal.
The council stipulated that payments to Edgewater be released incrementally, only after each step was completed.
Those changes, which were effected by Monday’s council approval, have never suited Douglas City Council’s taste, and its members have been quite vocal in expressing their disappointment.
Following months of discussions within each of the cities’ councils—and very little discussion involving representatives from both—the cities could not agree on an approach.
Nevertheless, the current tone has been conciliatory on the part of all parties.
All say they seem to be in accordance that despite differences, the ultimate goal remains the same: address the sedimentation of the harbor and identify the source of the problems upstream and come up with remediation solutions.
“My guess is if Edgewater presents a proposal specific to the City of Saugatuck, it will also present a proposal specific to the City of Douglas,” Douglas City Manager Bill LeFevere told The Local Observer newspaper last week.
“Regardless if we are talking about Saugatuck or Douglas, it’s the same set of tasks but with a different order,” WeyKamp told the newspaper following Monday’s Saugatuck approval.
Edgewater Resources was tapped last year among five other engineering companies to perform a long-term plan.
Per Monday’s contract, the engineering and marina/waterfront planning company will be in charge of assessing different strategies to address the sedimentation of the harbor. It will also identify the impact of those strategies on the visual and functional aspects of the waterway as well as the impact on the economics and character of the community.
The Saugatuck side of the harbor is marked by the water fronting the north side of Campbell Road as well as the water on the east side of the harbor, upstream along Lake Street. It runs until the end of S. Maple Street, just across the Blue Star Highway Bridge.