Grand Haven to decide future of Chinook Pier site

Ottawa County

GRAND HAVEN, Mich. (WOOD) — The City of Grand Haven is working to decide next steps for Chinook Pier. 

Back in December, the city notified store owners at Chinook Pier that they would need to vacate the premises due to a mold issue. They say the problem was so severe the building would not be safe for use for the summer.

“We’d been maintaining and taking care of the buildings, except they had crawl space under them, which was basically at water level, and they were always moist, always damp and eventually the buildings got moldy,” Grand Haven Mayor Bob Monetza explained.

After attempting to remediate the property, the city decided to demolish the entire building and repurpose it.

Chinook Pier in Grand Haven. (June 29, 2020)

In the meantime, a handful of the existing 12 shops were relocated to the Grand Trunk Historic Depot. The building is now split into five sections by temporary walls. There are ice cream shops at each end of the building. 

“It has been a whirlwind,” said Kristin Favreau, who owns the Peace Frogs store now in the historic depot. “It is a great space and we love seeing the water. We love downtown. We’re in close proximity. It’s amazing.”

The city originally planned to renovate the historic depot and use it as a public space. It says it had not planned to permanently relocate the shops to the depot, but all options are still being considered.

With money from the Michigan Municipal League, the city launched a $60,000 study to whether rebuilding the shops at Chinook Pier is its best option. 

“We don’t really know what the future is or what the future of the Chinook Pier space will be. We’re thinking kind of a broad vision from here all the way to where our locomotive is,” Monetza said.

Monetza says over the next few months, the city plans to take input from residents on next steps for the pier. The mayor says he hopes they land on a multi-use space of some kind. 

“Something people can be proud of. Something people will say, ‘We’d like to go by there,’ whether they’re residents or not, and enjoy that space. So whatever it takes to do that. We’ll find out what the community wants and we just want to best outcome,” said Monetza.

The city says it will soon launch a website to collect data and ideas from the community. It says this year will be used to study the space and depending on the results, it may be able to rebuild after the study concludes.

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