Sand Products Co. suggests moving Fisherman’s Landing through land swap with city

This may sound like a pretty benign land exchange, but this involves lands which were acquired through the use of public recreational dollars.  Unfortunately there is never a winner when the choices presented appear to be between “jobs” and the protection of our public recreational acquisitions.

02/12/12 By Dave Alexander |


MUSKEGON – Sand Products Corp. will go before Muskegon City Commissioners on Monday with a proposal to move Fisherman’s Landing from the east side of Muskegon Lake to the west end.


Owners of the Mart Dock in downtown Muskegon, Sand Products also owns a large undeveloped portion of what was once Pigeon Hill adjacent to the Harbour Towne Condominium development. Company officials are asking the city to exchange acreage at Pigeon Hill for the city’s Fisherman’s Landing.


Sand Products owners want to use Fisherman’s Landing for future port development, while creating a new recreational facility with boat launches on Muskegon Lake and approximately 70 camping sites. The “property swap” between Sand Products and the city would put the recreational fishing and camping facilities on Muskegon Lake in an area known as the “sand docks” near the former Pigeon Hill.


The Sand Products proposal will be made to commissioners at the 5:30 p.m. work session in the city commission chambers of Muskegon City Hall, 933 Terrace. The meeting is open to the public.


According to the company, the land swap would:


• Create a more desirable campground and boat launch facility that is much closer to Lake Michigan and the city’s Pere Marquette beach.


• Provide more launching opportunities for recreational boaters as new launches would be created at Pigeon Hill and the company would retain the launch ramp on the east end of Muskegon Lake at the current Fisherman’s Landing.


• Conversion of Fisherman’s Landing for port development would give the community more economic development potential.


Fisherman’s Landing currently sits between two parcels owned by Verplank Trucking Co., one used for bulk storage and shipping and the other currently vacant purchased from Consumers Energy, which operates the adjacent B.C. Cobb Generating Plant.


The Pigeon Hill property was the area’s tallest sand dune on the south side of the Muskegon Channel that links Muskegon Lake and Lake Michigan. Sand Products mined away the dune over many decades beginning in the 1930s.


A portion of the property was eventually redeveloped as the Harbour Towne project, including dozens of upscale condominium clustered units, a marina, a former yacht club and Docker’s Restaurant. Sand Products retained the remaining portion of the site and left it undeveloped.


A conceptual development plan provided city officials for a Fisherman’s Landing-type use of the remaining Pigeon Hill property shows access to the proposed camping and launch facility on a new driveway cutting from Beach Street east into the site approximately at the south end of Nelson Street. The proposed recreational facilities would surround the condominium community but not have road access to residential development.


The initial Sand Products written proposal to the city does not discuss any financial arrangements or specifically how the city would pay for the new fishing and camping development. However, the city would have to get state approval for the conversion of Fisherman’s Landing to private port activities because the facilities were built with state recreational grants, according to the Sand Products proposal.

About Northern Michigan Conservation Network

The mission of the Northern Michigan Conservation Network is to "connect conservation-minded hunters, anglers, and outdoor enthusiasts to those issues affecting Michigan's forests, waters, and wildlife."

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