Saugatuck rolls out prevention plan as downtown floods

Allegan County

SAUGATUCK, Mich. (WOOD) — Part of Saugatuck’s downtown business district has once again taken on water just days after city council approved a plan to prevent future flooding.

“I can’t imagine two worse things to happen to a resort community,” Mayor Ken Trester said Tuesday. “You have a flood along with an inability to serve customers in your restaurant and bar and so on.”

Though there is little city officials can do to remedy the coronavirus pandemic that led the governor to shut down bars, restaurant dining rooms and shops, Trester said they can help when it comes to reoccurring flooding.

The flood prevention plan will use various types of seals and sandbags to keep water from overflowing onto the streets. It will also install a series of pumps to send the water back into the Kalamazoo River, which is expected to crest later this week.

“We’re also going to seal off a boat launch that’s over down on Water Street, which is really the inlet that lets hundreds of thousands of gallons of water to flood the streets,” Trester said.

Residents and business owners hope the plan proves effective.

“This is as bad as I’ve seen it,” resident Russ Bono said of the flooding in the downtown area. “It’s kind of been a reoccurring thing since last year and hopefully they can get a handle on it so it doesn’t affect businesses.”

Trester said the project will cost the city about $40,000, a price it is willing to pay to help keep the downtown area dry and businesses afloat during a time of financial uncertainty.

“This is a double whammy,” Trester said. “With the steps we’ve had to put in place with the COVID situation along with flooding here, it has been really tough on our business community.”

City officials hope to have the flood prevention project complete within the coming weeks.

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Rising Waters

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