Boat shop owner prepares to reopen after two summers of flooding

The City of Grand Haven is working to raise the intersection of Harbor Island Drive and US 31 by three and a half feet.

GRAND HAVEN, Michigan – The Hall Sports Center has been in business for over forty years and has enjoyed steady business since its inception, with stores stretching from Muskegon to Grand Rapids and Grand Haven.

However, lakeside affairs took a turn when water flooded the Grand Haven property last year. As water surrounded the building and damaged its nearby shed, owner Harold Hall was forced to close the store for the past two summers.

“Our place is really easy to locate but with the road closed… it’s almost impossible to find us as you have to walk past it and then go across the street to find another barricade so you can’t get there and that’s been our problem,” Hall said.

The store is on Harbor Island Drive and Hall is working alongside the Grand Haven Department of Public Works to raise the area by three and a half feet.

“The city is spending over a quarter of a million dollars to raise the intersection,” said public works director Derek Gajdos.

The project, which will cover the intersection of Harbor Island Drive and US 31, comes after the city spent about $100,000 trying to mitigate water damage and damage in 2019.

“We are excited to open this intersection and not spend the resources trying to keep it dry, it will be built to stay dry,” Gajdos said, adding his team is asking lawmakers for financial assistance.

While Hall will have to pay “millions” out of his own pocket to have his property raised, he says the timeline aligns well with the work the city is doing, saying if either doesn’t raise their land, the flood problem could not be fully resolved. Hall appreciated all the help the city has given.

“We really had no choice. This place would become a swamp if we didn’t raise it,” he said.

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Hall raises his shop about a meter. Its lowest property area will be raised approximately four feet to match the city’s road construction.

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The Department of Public Works expects construction to be complete by the end of October. Hall said he hopes to have an unveiling of his property, which includes new docks and a remodel, ready by the end of April.

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