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Saugatuck-Douglas Dredging Now on Short List for State Funding


SAUGATUCK, MI (WHTC) - To say that the lifeline of a Lakeshore community is being saved is an understatement, as the boating path from Lake Michigan inland to Kalamazoo Lake, which joins Saugatuck and Douglas, is now on the list of channels statewide targeted for 21 million dollars in emergency dredging funds. The area wasn’t initially on the list, because it didn’t have any public marinas or state-owned facilities, but as Felicia Fairchild, Executive Director of the Saugatuck-Douglas Convention Bureau points out, the fact that a pleasure cruise had already planned to make the area a port of call several times this summer, helped her and State Representative Bob Genetski convince the Governor and other state leaders in Lansing to change their minds.

The importance of recreational boating to her area can’t be overstated, as it accounts for about 10 percent of the 255 million-dollar-plus annual revenues in tourism for the community. The Kalamazoo Lake Harbor Authority is attempting to raise two million dollars for additional dredging, and is looking at long-range solutions to the problem, which is compounded by possible PCB’s from old paper mills upstream that may be in the lake bed.