SAUGATUCK, Mich. (WZZM) - Leaders of Saugatuck and Douglas have a plea to Governor Snyder to help dredge the harbor, before a big-name cruise ship comes in.
Last year, the Yorktown, became the first American cruise ship in 80 years to visit the area, but this year tourism officials are afraid there's too much sand for the ship to enter. Saugatuck-Douglas was left off the state's list for cities receiving emergency dredging money.
Last summer, the Yorktown made six visits to Saugatuck harborand this year the ship is scheduled to make seven trips to the area.
"We're particularly concerned that there's not enough depth for the cruise ship to come in," says Felicia Fairchild, Executive Director of the Saugatuck-Douglas Convention and Visitors Bureau.
Fairchild sent a letter to Governor Snyder and received a response from his staff, after being told the area would not get emergency funding.
"We were told we weren't on the list because we didn't have a municipal marina and we didn't have state owned boat ramps," says Fairchild.
Last year, the Yorktown became the first Americancruise ship to arrive at the harbor in more than 80 years. It's a ship that's able to travel in moreshallow waters.
"Theirbrochures have been out for many months, so this could be difficult,this could be an embarrassment for the state of Michigan to have one of its harbors not be on the Great Lakes cruise schedule"
R.J. Peterson is on the Michigan Waterways Commission and says dredging the area would be a relatively low cost.
"It only requires about $150,000 and we have a local dredge operator, so we could probably get a reduced price," says Peterson.
Fairchild is working with state leaders to get the process moving along.
"We showed them aerial photos of the troubled spots and they said they're doing everything they can to rectify the problem," says Fairchild.
The convention and visitors bureau says State Representative Bob Genetski will make a presentation on Thursday to state tourism officials, explaining why Saugatuck and Douglas should be on the emergency list.
The Yorktown will make its first stop on July 2.