Grand Haven Tribune

September 02, 2014

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TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 2, 2014 50¢ Weekday, $1.00 Saturday Page 7 Fall Sports Preview: Girls cross country SPORTS INSIDE: Latest, greatest Strange GH See Column, Page 3 INSIDE: Water crisis has lessons for West Michigan See Other Views, Page 4 Tomorrow's Weather Mostly sunny and pleasant High 83 Low 59 2013 Newspaper of the Year Jim Pancy, RPh WANT TO TRANSFER YOUR PRESCRIPTION? A Pharmacy You Can Count On Service You Can Trust Pharmacy Hours Mon-Fri...................9am-7pm Saturday.................9am-2pm Sunday.........................Closed Howard City...........(231)937-5282 Ferrysburg.............(616) 842-4706 Belding...................(616) 794-4053 Annual bridge walk celebrated in Grand Haven Government at work BY ALEX DOTY We are all defined by where we live. Northwest Ottawa County is made up of six cities, villages and town- ships, each one with a dedicated workforce behind them. Each day, more than 3,000 public workers make sure our roads are plowed, our lights turn on, our water flows through our faucets and that other services we need are rendered. All told, these employ- ees earn more than $120 million in wages per year, according to the Tribune's annual salary survey. That comprises the largest single expense for local governments, yet those paid employees are also the most valu- able assets. To celebrate the Labor Day holiday and the labors of our pub- lic employees, here is an inside look at a few of these behind-the-scenes folks who make sure our governments are serving us. An eye on finance Jim Bonamy, finance director for the City of Grand Haven, is there to keep the municipal gears turning. He started out doing municipal finance work in 1986 in Croswell, mov- ing to Albion in 1989. He spent about five years there before making the move to the Lakeshore. "I came to Grand Haven in November of 1994," Bonamy said. "I'll be celebrating 20 years in Grand Haven this November, with anoth- er nine years before that. Prior to Croswell, I worked at Greenfield Village and Henry Ford Museum, managing the merchandise depart- ment." Like a head of household balances a checkbook each month, Bonamy is responsible for managing the Tribune photos/Alex Doty ABOVE: Ottawa County spokeswoman Shannon Felgner takes photos of the Nature Education Center at Hemlock Crossing County Park. Felgner is one of many public employees who work in Ottawa County. BELOW: Grand Haven Finance Director James Bonamy works at his computer workstation at City Hall. WORKERS & WAGES From Crockery Township to the city of Grand Haven, public employees are essential to our community. The Tribune surveyed local communities, school districts and libraries to look at their biggest expenses — wages. We also took the time to talk to some of the employees to find about their jobs for this three-part series. TODAY: General government WEDNESDAY: Public safety THURSDAY: Education See GOVERNMENT on Page 3 BY ALEX DOTY GRAND HAVEN TWP. — Grand Haven Township officials say their Downtown Development Authority road and utility replacement project is chugging along. "The project is going well," Township Manager Bill Cargo said. Construction crews have met a goal of getting the 168th Avenue and Johnson Street portion of the project finished by Labor Day weekend. "It (has been paved) and we've met our deadline," Cargo said. A week ago, there was some concern about getting the segment of road open due to inclement weather and contractor availability. "We had to have this (road) open on Sept. 2, because this is a major bus route to and from the high school," Cargo said. Now that township officials have that portion of the project finished, they can set their sights on the rest of the work. Cargo said the expected completion date for the project is Oct. 31. "We have plenty of time for the rest of it," he said. The $2 million DDA project includes complete reconstruction of the street surface on 172nd Avenue and Johnson, installation of stormwater curb and gutter systems, and other improvements. A new water main will also be installed beneath the roadway; however, township officials recently discovered that they don't need to replace as much. According to Cargo, a significant portion of the street reconstruction project was the replacement of cast-iron water main, costing about $366,000. This piping was installed by the City of Grand Haven in the mid-1960s to support the development of the township's industrial area. When the pipe replacement crew from Brenner Excavating began to expose the water main on the south end of the project, it was discovered that approximately 2,200 linear feet of the water main isn't cast iron. Based on the recommendation of township staff and project engineers, the section will be left as is. "It will provide a cost savings," Cargo said. "When you are dealing with old records, you don't know what is down there until you open up the ground." GHT road project is on course Tribune photo/Alex Doty Construction crews work on 172nd Avenue as part of the Grand Haven Township Downtown Development Authority project. Tribune photo/Becky Vargo Families and friends set out across the Third Street Bridge at the start of the annual Labor Day Bridge Walk in Grand Haven Monday morning. Tribune photo/Becky Vargo From left, Jamie Oosterhart, Jacki Johnson and Marsha Brownlee were part of a Curves contingent that participated in the annual walk. BY BECKY VARGO The rain stayed away long enough for more than 100 people to participate in the annual Labor Day (Third Street) Bridge Walk in Grand Haven Monday morning. "This is probably a little more than expected," said City Manager Pat McGinnis as he passed out drawing tickets to the steady stream of people walking past. The majority of walkers said they planned to make the entire 3.5-mile hike from Harbor Island out to the South Pier and back. Jo and Arley Bouwma of Grand Haven, and Jo's sister, Dorothy Shutt of Georgia were part of that group. "Yeah, we're doing the whole thing," Jo Bouwma said. "It's a nice day to See WALK on Page 3

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