Grand Haven charging fee for boaters who tie-up to the seawall

Boat tie up fee

GRAND HAVEN, MICH. - Earlier this month, Grand Haven announced plans to charge $10 for parking at the city beach. That plan has since been revised. Only those who don't live in Grand Haven, Spring Lake or Ferrysburg will have to pay the fee.

Now, the city is charging another fee for boaters who want to tie their boats to the Grand River seawall for the night. The $10 fee has been in place for several years, but not enforced until recently.

It’s an issue that’s not sitting well with some boaters; including the city's own Harbor Board. The group wants the Grand Haven City Council to get rid of it.

Each year, thousands of boats head up and down the Grand River, to either go out on lake Michigan, or spend the day in Grand Haven. On certain weekends, the seawall is filled with boats. Many of the stay the entire day. But up until recently, those who wanted to stay the night, didn't have to pay a fee to tie up to the seawall.

Longtime boater Arlen Smith says he doesn't mind paying $10, but thinks a donation box would be better for everyone who uses the seawall.

"I think the negative aspects of a mandatory fee would probably do more harm than it would good because it would irritate people who would be happy to donate if it was a voluntary thing."

On Wednesday, Grand Haven City Manager Pat McGinnis said the fee remains in place, but because of the recent controversy, they are discussing other options. McGinnis also says, if they keep the fee, they need to determine if using an employee to monitor the boats along the seawall, is cost effective.

A city council meeting is planned for July 17th.  Boaters are invited to join their discussion on the issue.

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