Government and Real Estate

GR to defend island from trespassers

September 13, 2013
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It’s not exactly Oahu. In fact, it’s not even Drummond. Still, the city of Grand Rapids soon will own an island.

City commissioners agreed last week to accept two quit-claim deeds to an island on the Grand River about 900 feet north of the Wealthy Street bridge.

“It was basically a sandbar in 1940,” said City Attorney Catherine Mish.

Mish offered commissioners a series of photos that showed how the sandbar grew into an island. She said vegetation began springing up around 1955, and now the island is more than an acre in size with large and mature trees.

Mish explained that, as the nearest property owners, the island belonged to Grand Valley State University and Romar Associates LLC. Both are situated on the west bank of the river and have agreed to transfer the island to the city because people have been camping on it, which makes them trespassers.

Having the island in the city’s possession allows the Grand Rapids Police Department to address the trespassing concerns.

“This would allow the city to prosecute people who trespass on the island. The city will post ‘No Trespassing’ signs,” said Mish.

How the sandbar matured into an island seemed to fascinate commissioners, who normally don’t see this type of item on their agendas.

“This could eventually become Manhattan,” joked Commissioner Walt Gutowski.

There was no talk of naming the island or whether the city would sell it.

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