12 23 Boardwalk trio

Bridgman Key Club members clean up the Weko Beach boardwalk.

BRIDGMAN — The Bridgman City Council during a Dec. 17 special meeting approved applying for a Michigan Coastal Management Program (MCMP) grant to cover half of the design costs for a project to replace the boardwalk at Weko Beach.

The overlook stairs and boardwalk along the south dune at Weko Beach were installed in 1989 and partially funded through a grant from the Michigan Department of Natural Resources (MDNR).

The city recently completed a project to replace a dune retaining wall adjacent to the boardwalk, revealing more of the weathered decking. In addition to replacement of the boardwalk, Parks and Recreation Director Sara Ball has identified other enhancement projects at Weko Beach, including an extension of the boardwalk to serve as a platform for gatherings such as weddings and concerts, and shade structures.

The civil engineering company Abonmarche has offered to write an application to the MCMP free of charge for Bridgman. The total estimated design cost is $30,500, which would be 50 percent funded by the grant ($15,250) with Bridgman’s required match covering the other half if the grant is awarded.

The boardwalk project will be phased in order to pursue other grant resources. The second phase (after design) would allow the city to apply for grant funds through the MDNR to cover the majority of construction costs (expected to exceed $500,000).

During its Dec. 6 regular meeting Ball announce that the city had been awarded a $80,000 Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund grant ($50,000 with a $30,000 local match) to renovate Toth Park.

“It’s going to take about four to six months to receive the project agreement … but we’re on the right path,” she said.

City Manager Juan Ganum said the city may go for additional funding to have a bigger impact.

“We really want to do something special in Toth,” he said.

Also on Dec. 6, City Attorney Sara Senica said she had been told by a member of the Michigan Senate that as of Dec. 3 it did not have the votes to pass the short-term rental bill (HB 4722) that had passed the State House on Oct. 27.

As of Dec. 19 the bill was listed as being in the Senate Committee on Regulatory Reform.

The State Senate could still be in session on Dec. 29.

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