Senators join call for lakeshore emergency declaration

Rising Waters

Damage to the walkway to the north pier at Holland State Park due to high winds and waves. (Dec. 2, 2019)

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — State senators from the lakeshore have sent a letter asking Gov. Gretchen Whitmer to declare a state of emergency in response to erosion threatening properties.

The letter dated Dec. 10 and signed by six senators cites “significant damage to both privately and publicly-owned property” along Lake Michigan.

>>PDF: Read the letter

Erosion this fall has been unusually aggressive, fueled by high lake levels and powerful fall storms. At least one home near Holland had to be demolished before it could collapse into the lake and others are still dangerously close to toppling in. A recent storm damaged part of the walkway at Holland State Park. Authorities in Muskegon are worried Beach Street may wash away.

“…Much of the damage has already been done, and our constituents are now left to literally pick of the pieces of what was once their homes, businesses and infrastructure,” the senators’ letter reads in part.

An emergency declaration would make more state funds and resources available to affected areas. It would also open the door for requesting a federal emergency declaration.

“At this time, declaring a state of emergency is essential to providing access to resources that will help those affected take steps toward recovery,” stated Sen. Roger Victory, R-Hudsonville, who was the lead author of the letter.

Members of the Michigan House of Representatives sent Whitmer a similar letter last week.

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