1 28 Bridg Weko Beach house

A view of the Weko Beach House in Bridgman during the winter non-rental season.

BRIDGMAN — The Bridgman City Council approved a revised fee schedule for the rental of the Weko Beach House during its Jan. 18 regular meeting.

Information on the new rates follows: Monday through Friday (3 hours minimum, open 7 a.m. to 11 p.m.) Resident Rate (Bridgman & Lake Township) – $75 hourly; Non-Resident Rate – $100 hourly; Saturday & Sunday (3 hours minimum, open 7 a.m. to 11 p.m.) Resident Rate (Bridgman & Lake Township) – $85 hourly; Non-Resident Rate – $120 hourly.

According to information provided to the City Council, the minimum rental fee covering three hours will provide the down payment. To provide coverage against damages and necessary cleaning, a credit card number will be held and assessed a minimum charge of $500 (which it was noted during the meeting by Parks and Recreation Director Sara Ball will be returned if the Beach House is left in “pristine condition”). Actual damages and cleaning above this amount will be charged pursuant to the rental agreement.

The lengthy rental agreement document includes the following on that subject: “Agrees to return Weko facilities used for the event to the CITY OF BRIDGMAN in like condition as received. This means all tables and floor cleaned (including sweeping the floor), trash containers emptied, tables and chairs returned to their original position. This includes the building perimeter, deck area, and restroom before the end time of the rental.”

Other language in the agreement includes: “the beach and campground is a public park, and that the public cannot be excluded from the beach or campground area during any rental of Weko Beach house facility during regular business hours;” and “Understands that a limited deck area of the Beach House may be reserved for your event. The rest of the deck area will be open to the public for use.”

Also on Jan. 18, the City Council Approved a Michigan Coastal Management Grant Agreement between the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy, Water Resources Division and the City of Bridgman to replace the south dune retaining wall at Weko Beach and authorize Ball to execute the agreement.

Mayor Vince Rose said the existing retaining wall is in need of replacement.

The Weko Beach dune overlook stairs and boardwalk were initially installed in 1989 and partially paid for with a DNR Bond Fund Grant. The retaining wall has collapsed in several locations.

On December 23, 2020, the city’s Weko Beach Dune Restoration and Stabilization Project was selected to receive a grant award amount of $75,000 and the Parks Fund balance is sufficient to cover the city’s local match of up to $75,000.

In other Jan. 18 Bridgman City Council business:

• The council approved an application for an Affordability and Planning Grant from the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE) to explore the feasibility of water service options in partnership with Lake Township.

City Manager Juan Ganum said EGLE has sent a letter of support for the city’s application for the new grant program, available to fund asset management plans, water rate plans to support the implementation of asset management plans, or watershed plans supporting long-term infrastructure needs to address public health and environmental risks. Options being looked at to provide water to Bridgman residents and businesses over the long term involves becoming a water customer of Lake Township, the formation of a new water authority with the township, or something in between.

If the grant is awarded, Wightman will conduct the water system study. Awards will be announced by March 31, 2021 and work must be completed by June 1, 2022.

• Ganum reported that a Corridor Improvement Authority project to install public parking wayfinding signage was recently completed. Signs have been installed at Maple Street and Mathieu Street to direct motorists to the public lots around City Hall.

• The Council made plans to replace member Sarah Buist (who resigned effective Dec. 30, 2020, due to her family’s relocation outside of the city limits).

The Bridgman City Charter’s timeline for appointment of a new Council Member states that if a vacancy occurs in any elective office, the Council shall, within sixty days after such a vacancy occurs, appoint a person to fill such vacancy for the unexpired term of the officer who vacated the office (as long as the vacancy was not the result of recall).

Council members reviewed a series of proposed questions for prospective council members and agreed to question applicants publicly, and approved a plan to fill the vacated seat no later than March 1, 2021 (with applications due by Feb. 8 and interviews slated to take place during the council’s Feb. 15 meeting).

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