- Associated Press - Tuesday, March 29, 2016

SAUGATUCK, Mich. (AP) - The city of Saugatuck has decided to invest in a beach cleaning machine in an effort to improve the experiences of thousands of annual Oval Beach visitors.

On Monday night, the Saugatuck City Council unanimously approved the purchase of more than $100,000 worth of equipment, The Holland Sentinel (https://bit.ly/1Uzge1B ) reported. The city will spend about $54,000 on a Barber 600HD Surf Rake beach cleaner and an additional $55,000 on a tractor to pull it.

“If we want to maintain a world-class beach,” Saugatuck City Manager Kirk Harrier said, “we have to have the equipment to do so.”

The city started rethinking how it keeps the beach attractive for visitors after its contracted beach cleaning company, which tidied up the lakeshore at Oval Beach about once a year, recently went out of the business.

Harrier realized that the beach should be cleaned more often, so he got in touch with other beach-community leaders on Lake Michigan, and they told him that their shorelines cleaned three to five times a week.

Saugatuck’s plan is to use its new beach cleaner three times a week to clear litter and debris from Oval Beach, according to Harrier.

Harrier said “there is potential” for hiring out its new service to Oval Beach’s neighbor, the Dune Grass luxury housing development, to help offset the cost of purchasing and running the beach cleaner.

At the meeting, several City Council members expressed their enthusiasm for the new equipment’s expected effect on the city’s shoreline.

“(Oval Beach) will be beautiful,” Mayor Chris Peterson said.

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Information from: The Holland Sentinel, https://www.thehollandsentinel.com

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