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Concerns over Hawk Island Boardwalk

Posted at 10:58 AM, Aug 23, 2018
and last updated 2018-08-23 11:08:08-04

Flooding affecting mid-Michigan earlier this year was one of the worst we've seen. Still bearing the brunt of damage is Hawk Island's boardwalk. News 10's Marcus Dash shows us why community members are calling for not just a portion of it to be replaced.

The sights and the sounds of hawk island are one of a kind, but the views are a distant second, next to the safety concerns on the boardwalk.

"I thought originally this was a big deal to come here was that you got to walk along the lake and now it seems like its just more dangerous," said Christopher Vandenberghe

Between freezing, thawing, and flooding earlier this year, the boardwalks have shifted, damaging the wood. 
A portion is shut down, but father Christopher Vandenberghe says a portion open for business right now is unsafe.

"You get splinters into the knees, you get cut knees, you get busted faces. I've experienced all three of them walking the boardwalk and tripping over the loose planks especially," said Vandenberghe.

While the boardwalk is a beauty to have, locals say they'd be okay with it being shut down for a few months to repair and to preserve the life of it. Instead of continuing to let it wear, while also putting people at risk.

"I don't want to take my kids out, because I'm not sure when the actual break day will happen, and I dont want my kids to be the ones leaning over the banister to look at fish, and falling in," said Vandenberghe.

The park has a plan in place to take care of the boardwalk currently shut down, but as far as the main boardwalk, they'll do what they can.

"We will look at short-term as far as replacing any boards that need to be replaced, that one will be addressed in the future, I'm sure at some point," said Ingham County Park Director Tim Morgan.

Visitors of Hawk Island hope the county doesn't wait too long to fix the already deteriorating boardwalk.

"I really would hope that they would figure out a long-term plan, I would hate to see it shut down completely, and tell us that it will be years before they'd fix it. It would be a waste," said Vandenberghe.

The boardwalk currently shutdown will be demolished in the fall and be replaced with floating piers to avoid flood damage.
The county says they've applied for grants to help fund the project.