GRAND HAVEN, Mich. — Crews plan on erecting three steel bents each day to have the storied Grand Haven catwalk upright on the South Pier by June and fully functional in July, city officials said Tuesday.
"It's finally time to bring her home," said Erin Turrell, an industrial engineer who led a massive fundraising campaign to "Save the Catwalk."
The original catwalk was taken down after the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers resurfaced and raised portions of the pier.
"It's part of us," said Grand Haven Mayor Geri McCaleb. "It's so iconic to the city... so the community said, 'Absolutely it's going back up.'"
The Save the Catwalk Committee raised $1 million to fund the new structure. The money went mostly towards the 59 bents needed to recreate the catwalk.
"We had people not only just within the Tri-Cities Area but from other states and countries because they identify with how much the structure means to them personally," Turrell said.
High waters delayed the reconstruction of the pier, which pushed back the catwalk project. Contractors have three bents standing and plan to complete three each day if weather permits.
"That would be three weeks [to complete the bents]," McCaleb said. "That would be if all goes well, which usually doesn't happen. I'm sure there will be rainy days and windy days that they're not going to be able to work out here."
Once the bents are raised, $40,000 will go towards putting up lights, which will be replicas of the lights from the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Escanaba. Each bent with a life buoy will also be equipped with an alarm system.
"When that buoy is lifted, it will alert where it is and who is in danger, so we're doing everything to keep it safe," McCaleb said. "So, that's a big step in the right direction."
The ultimate goal is to have the catwalk fully functional by the Coast Guard Festival in July, City Manager Pat McGinnis said.
"Everything comes back to that around here," McGinnis chuckled.
The new catwalk will help welcome boats and visitors to Grand Haven like it used to, Turrell said.
"When people come to Grand Haven usually the first place they go is here," she said. "They want to take pictures, they want to be in an around this structure. It is, in a large respect, what defines what Grand Haven is."
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