(New Buffalo, MI) - A popular fixture at the lakefront in New Buffalo is only a memory now, but it shouldn’t be long before new memories start being made on its replacement.
Dunewalk has been removed from the hilly, and sandy ground just east of the concession stand at the public beach. City Manager Darwin Watson said Anlaan Corporation out of Grand Haven started the work on November 29 and finished the next day.
“They got in and got it done real quick,” he said.
Watson said the cost of the demolition and hauling away the materials should come in at about $440,000. He said that a $220,000 grant from the Michigan Department of Natural Resources and $110,000 apiece from the city and Pokagon Fund would cover the expense.
Dunewalk, built roughly two decades ago, was closed to the public in recent years because of hazards like wooden steps no longer safe to walk on. The new Dunewalk at the same spot will be handicapped accessible with ramps, instead of stairs, for users to navigate from end to end.
Watson said the hope is to start construction in the spring and be finished or nearly completed before Memorial Day. He said a $150,000 MDNR grant would help pay for the estimated $400,000 cost of the new Dunewalk. After that, the city will pay the rest of the expense unless more outside dollars are unexpectedly awarded to offset the cost further.
Dunewalk, nestled on top of a dune, was heavily used not just for exercise but to enhance views of the lakefront. Once closed, Watson said signs and other materials were used to discourage people from walking it, but not everyone could resist temptation.
"A lot of time was spent by the park department “chasing people off of it,” he said.