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Harbor Island boat launch could open by mid-June, some forced to change plans due to the delay

Rising water levels in early spring that never went down, according to Grand Haven Public Works Director Derek Gajdos, are to blame for the delay.

GRAND HAVEN, Mich. — Grand Haven's Busiest boat ramp is still not fully operational as temperatures continue to climb and more boaters try to hit the water.

"When we had record high level water in 2020, the boat launch was submerged significantly where we it caused some erosion, some damage to the launch itself," said Grand Haven's Director of Public Works Derek Gajdos.

Gajdos says they've been trying to make long term repairs to the boat launch, and they are needing to pour concrete down to finish the ramp.

While two ramps are open at the site, there are six ramps, some waiting in the parking lot, waiting to be installed.

Rising water levels in early spring that never went down, according to Gajdos, are to blame for the delay.

"Unfortunately, when we were prepared to ready the site for concrete there was some rains that had happened over the weekend and raise the river level," said Gajdos.

While the launch can handle small traffic right now, Ross Graveling calls the delays inconvenient.

As the Director of Sports Persons Ministries, Graveling held a youth fishing tournament in early May that was originally planned for the Grand Haven Channel, launching out of Harbor Island.

With 130 boats there to fish, he had to decide last minute to hold the tournament at Muskegon Lake instead.

"It takes quite a while even when you have five ramps, it takes maybe 45 minutes, especially at the end to get them all back in," said Graveling. "And so if I only had one boat ramp, it would have it would have taken a very, we would have never launched in near enough time."

The ramp could be finished by mid-June.

The total cost to repair the ramp is around $65,000.

One solution they were looking at is to speed up the repairs, installing a special dam for a portion of the ramp that would about triple the cost.

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