- Associated Press - Wednesday, July 8, 2015

GRAND HAVEN, Mich. (AP) - Local officials are working to secure funding for two separate efforts aiming to preserve historic structures along Lake Michigan amid a $2.1 million repair job on the Grand Haven South Pier.

This fall, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will resurface and raise portions of the pier. The project would require the city to either lift and support the catwalk, a metal structure on the pier that extends to and from the lighthouse, or scrap it entirely.

“The Army Corps is very desperate to hear from us on whether we’ll lift that catwalk up or not,” said City Manager Patrick McGinnis. “If we say no, they’re going to take it off. (The pier) is their property. It is our option to lift it and keep it.”

City officials have agreed unanimously that they should try to save the catwalk, but they have until fall to make a decision.

“I hear from people on the street all the time that (our lakeshore) would not be the same iconic beach without it,” said Mayor Pro tem Michael Fritz. “We need to save it, and have to search under every stone to find funding.”

Officials aren’t able to use city money, so they still have to figure out how to pay for the estimated $100,000 cost to lift the structure.

The Grand Haven Lighthouse Conservancy also is seeking state grants to continue improvements on two lighthouses after work on the pier is completed in the spring. The city still needs to draft a plan with detailed specifications on how it will conduct the work before it can apply for the grants.

The second round of improvements follows a painting and exterior revamp project that began in 2013.

Additional work on the lighthouses could start as early as next fall, McGinnis said.

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