GRAND HAVEN, Mich. (WOOD) — Some in Grand Haven started their morning off with a bang as a demolition saw an iconic structure come tumbling down.
The J.B. Sims Generating Plant has been a staple of the riverfront in Grand Haven for the better part of 37 years. That changed Friday as controlled blasts destroyed it.
“Seeing it come down was pretty exciting and it was also kind of bittersweet,” Grand Haven Mayor Bob Monetza said. “Now we’ll get used to a whole new different normal in our city.”
“The view’s going to be great,” Nancy Gezon of Holland said. “There are many times when I looked out here, thinking, ‘Boy, that’s really ugly.'”
The plant has been out of commission for a full year because it was inefficient and no longer a good economic solution for the city.
“Plus it was a coal-fired plant,” Monetza said. “And the emissions from coal are a problem and it’s kind of caught up with us and its time was done.”
All that is left is a heap of debris.
“They should have everything cleaned up, as far as getting the debris out of there, probably within the month,” the mayor said. “But then there’s a long process of remediation of the site.”
There is no precise timetable on the remediation but it is anticipated to last at least a couple of years. That time will allow the city to plan what’s next and reflect on years gone by.
“It speaks to me about where Grand Haven has been and who we’ve been,” Monetza said. “But going forward, we have a big, open view now and there’s a lot of advantage to that, as well.”
“I had little tears in my eyes for the actual stack and what it has meant to this community,” Gezon said. “But onward. Change is good.”