State Grant Will Dramatically Improve New Buffalo Dune Walk

A special place along the Lake Michigan waterfront in Harbor Country that has been used for a multitude of wedding proposals, senior class photos, family portraits and more will undergo a significant transformation thanks to a new grant from the Michigan Department of Natural Resources Land and Water Conservation Fund.

The City of New Buffalo’s Dune Walk will see a significant investment during the upcoming fiscal year, after receiving that $220,000 grant, which will be matched by $220,000 in local resources resulting in a $440,000 project.

The Dune Walk is an iconic part of the community for years as people made memories along the shore whether visitors or residents taking advantage of the wide expanse of beauty. The ability of future generations to enjoy the opportunity making their own memories there was threatened as the existing Dune Walk was nearing the end of its functional lifecycle.

New Buffalo Mayor Lou O’Donnell IV says, “The timing on this grant was perfect,” adding, “Not only will we be able to renovate and improve the existing Dune Walk, but we also will be constructing a second ADA accessible walkway into the dunes so that people of all abilities can enjoy the dunes and their sweeping views of Lake Michigan.”

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Other project elements will include planting dune grasses to protect the dune area as well as installing educational signage to inform people on the importance of dunes and their unique ecosystems.

Mayor O’Donnell says, “We could not have secured this funding without the help of a couple important partners in developing the application and securing the grant.” He notes, “The willingness of the New Buffalo Area School’s Building Trades Program to assist with maintenance on the structure was an important part of attracting the state’s interest in the project. Also, our partners at Abonmarche helped us develop a funding application that was ranked 7th overall from all of the applications submitted from throughout the State.”

The City is expected to receive its final grant agreement in mid-2020 and once that has been executed the design and construction process will begin.