Grand Haven struggles with Harbor Island flooding

Rising Waters

GRAND HAVEN, Mich. (WOOD) — Grand Haven officials have decided not to request a state emergency after serious flooding hit an island.

The city says for weeks, roads near Harbor Island have been covered in water.

“These are historically high water levels,” said City Manager Patrick McGinnis.

McGinnis says the city hasn’t seen flooding of this magnitude since 1986.

The water is so high near Harbor Island Drive, the city had to buy large sandbags to keep it off the roads.

Officials say the worst of the damage is near the boat launch where the parking lot is under about six inches of water.

“We haven’t been able to pump that out. It’s just too vast an area,” McGinnis said. “The pavement underneath is damaged. The pavement and roads weren’t designed to be underwater.”

The city has spent $50,000 so far to maintain safety in the area.

When the water finally recedes, the city will have to make road and parking lot repairs. Officials estimate repairs will cost six-figures.

“We’ve been as proactive as we can. We’ve built a storm system that should handle a 25-year flood, but it seems like we’re getting 25-year floods every other year,” McGinnis said.

This week, the city considered applying to declare a state of emergency. After speaking to the city’s emergency manager, they decided not to, McGinnis said.

While the damage is costly and serious, it likely would not qualify for federal aid. Instead, the city officials are working on using any money they can to fix the problem areas without cutting into public services.

“We’re doing what we need to do immediately and making sure to keep track of things, so we can maybe consider an emergency declaration down the road,” McGinnis said.

City officials say they have no idea when water levels may begin to recede.

If they rise any higher, they might be forced to find outside aid.

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