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Pottawattomie Park, on the banks of the Pottawattomie Bayou, was struggling with a rapidly eroding shoreline, flooding issues, and an existing dock and boardwalk in need of replacement. The park is located at a busy site and accommodates different types of use: kayak and paddle board launching, swimming, fishing, hiking, volleyball, and a playground. Due to the soil types, lack of shoreline plants, and groundwater seepage, the site was rapidly eroding.

Grand Haven Charter Township wanted to utilize natural shoreline methods to address the erosion and provide better-defined user access to the water at the park while also restoring some wetlands. Coastal Management grant funding was available for the design and planning of the improvements, but solutions to stop the erosion could not impact site use or negatively impact the environment.

The township hired Prein&Newhof to design several improvements and to assist with the grant application process. Prein&Newhof wrote the application for the initial study phase and, eventually, the design and construction phases as well. Prein&Newhof also assisted with community input gathering and provided the initial study of the site with recommendations for improvements that would enhance the environment and user experience.

The proposed solution involved limiting activity access to certain areas and using native plantings to restore exposed shoreline. By limiting water access to the sandy beach area and kayak launch, unprotected areas would become easier to maintain, and natural areas would reestablish without human interference.

The project included the removal of all existing boardwalks, floating docks, and the sidewalk bordering the shoreline. The relocated pathway now allows a natural wetland area to flourish. The new concrete path avoids flooded areas and connects the parking lot and volleyball court to the floating dock and kayak launch. Lawn areas near the water were removed and replaced with native plantings, and a sandy beach area bordered by large stones defines a swimmer and paddleboard access area.

In total, approximately 100 feet of shoreline was stabilized using native plantings and some natural stone. A universally accessible kayak launch was added to the refurbished floating dock at a new location away from the swimming area. The dock also provides some protection from waves and wakes to the site. These were relatively low-cost methods to address the erosion issues while providing an enhanced experience and improving the beauty of the setting.

Grand Haven Charter Township was provided a unique opportunity to establish a new community park thanks to Jim Schmidt, the generous donor of nearly 70 acres of land. With the added stipulation of needing to complete the park by a specific date or risk losing the donated land, the Township hired Prein&Newhof to work with the park donor in bringing conceptual ideas to reality through planning, budgeting, coordination of utilities, and community engagement.

Prein&Newhof and Grand Haven Charter Township engaged the Northwest Ottawa Recreation Commission to evaluate needs in the community related to soccer, baseball, and softball. Sports field sizes were chosen to provide the most flexibility with varying age groups. The local pickleball community was also engaged to help plan the court area, with the shared goal of transforming Schmidt Heritage Park into destination along the lakeshore for future pickleball tournaments and more significant events. Prein&Newhof also met with experts in the irrigation and turf industries to aid in designing a project that would meet the users’ needs while remaining easy to operate and maintain well into the future.

This successful expansion of Grand Haven Charter Township’s park network provides many new opportunities for all types of recreational activities. These activities range from active recreation areas, such as the six soccer fields, one baseball field, one softball field, and twelve pickleball courts, to passive recreation areas, like the Jo-Jo Jogging Trail, which meanders through 15 acres of wooded uplands with a small creek crossing and elevated boardwalks. Park amenities also include restrooms, ample parking, and shelters for social gatherings and organized activities. Future phases will include two youth baseball diamonds and two softball fields along with more restrooms, shelters, and parking.

Involving local recreational groups was essential to supporting the community and providing facilities that will allow them to expand. To continue to facilitate this expansion and maintain a high level of service, Jim Schmidt established a fund through the local community foundation to assist with ongoing maintenance costs.

CopperRock Construction served as the general contractor for the project. Emphasis was placed on retaining local subcontractors, including Schmidt Brothers Excavating, Weesies Brothers Landscaping, InLine Electric, R.A. Holmes, Turf Services, Connan Construction, Racquet Sports, A&H Masonry, Gales Plumbing, Dewind Dewatering, Asphalt Paving, and Straight Line Fence.

The Mill of South County, originally known as the Lee Paper Company, sits in the middle of the Village of Vicksburg. Built in 1905, it provided a prosperous and thriving economy for nearly a century. The plant closed in 2001, taking with it jobs and a tax base and leaving behind a 416,000-square-foot building on 120 acres. The Village’s population began to shrink drastically. In 2014, Paper City Development bought the property to preserve the building and develop a destination venue for the community, possibly with breweries and taprooms, indoor and outdoor event venues, restaurants, offices, residential spaces, and even a museum.

Infrastructure Updates

At the same time, village leaders began developing a sewer/stormwater asset management plan. Like many other Michigan communities built at the turn of the 20th century, existing lines were over 80 years old and ready for replacement. Village leaders saw this opportunity to give back to the legacy that built their community and work towards ensuring the success of the new development. It would require a significant improvement of infrastructure systems within the community to make the downtown area part of the journey.

Village officials took nearly three years to carefully study the community’s infrastructure, which revealed more than $30 million worth of critical needs. Refining the project to immediate needs, an $11 million package was rolled out, $9 million of which was focused on sewer-related infrastructure replacements and upgrades in other areas.

Short of the nearby development project (The Mill), the other driving force of the project was addressing the sanitary system capacity issues, minimizing short- and long-term costs, and considering the master plan and capital improvement plans for each utility system.

Inline televising inspection and smoke testing revealed that stormwater was getting into the sanitary system and going to the Kalamazoo Wastewater Treatment Plant for treatment. By correcting these issues, the village would save significant money in energy and treatment expenses.

Three areas within the sanitary pipe network and three lift stations were undersized for current flows—the Washington Street, Highway Street, and the Spruce Street lift stations (force main). Additionally, the pipe network from the Centennial neighborhood to the Trillium lift station, the downstream pipe from the Washington Street lift station, and the pipe downstream of the Highway Street lift station were also undersized.

The project design included an interceptor sewer between the Washington lift station and the Spruce Street lift station to help the flow from high growth areas on the west side of town to go directly from the Washington Street lift station through the interceptor to the Spruce Street lift station instead of putting added stress on an older system running through neighborhoods on the south and east sides of Vicksburg. Additionally, the interceptor provides significant utility savings at the Highway Street lift station.

Streetscape and Placemaking

In conjunction with the infrastructure improvements, Vicksburg saw the opportunity to further develop and implement a downtown area that would bring people to the heart of the Village to shop, eat, walk, and enjoy. Prein&Newhof worked with Village leaders and the future generation of business owners to develop a vision and plan for upgrading the downtown area. This included making Main Street one way with on-street parallel parking on one side and angled parking on the other, expanding the sidewalks to 15 feet wide, and including a plaza at the midblock sidewalk crossing to provide more space for people to congregate.

Streetlights were refurbished and the traffic signal was redesigned. Charging stations were installed, all new benches, trash receptacles, tables and chairs, and bike racks were put in place. Planter beds with irrigation and planter pots were strategically placed along with street trees and enhanced crosswalks for additional pedestrian safety.

Meanwhile, Oswalt Park, across the street on the corner of E. Prairie and Main, also needed improvements and updating. It was perfect timing to tie the project onto the infrastructure construction work being done on Main Street. It greatly expanded community gathering space.

The village manager has excellent communication practices within the community. As a consensus builder, he always goes above and beyond to ensure constituents are aware of the progress on village business and projects. This project followed his usual protocol for community awareness. The village pulled out all the stops to keep the public informed. There was a full-court press on social media, community newsletters, local media/TV coverage, and construction updates on the Prein&Newhof website. Weekly meetings were held to review progress and to help anticipate upcoming challenges. These meetings were attended by the contractors, engineers, Village administration, public relations, and public works staff.


The Mill project is expected to spur further residential and commercial development by way of attracting a higher skilled workforce to the area. Infrastructure improvements in downtown Vicksburg and the development that comes with The Mill will stimulate the local economy and increase the population with the addition of over 220 new jobs. The 2010 census reflected 2,905 residents. As of the 2020 Census, the Village has a population of 3,814 residents with an expectation that the area will continue to grow and blossom.

Worth Township needed to create a sewer system to replace the septic system that was leaking sewage into Lake Huron. Worth Township hired Prein&Newhof to design a $23 million project to keep sewage from leaking septic systems out of Lake Huron.

Worth Township bought 72 acres for a new wastewater lagoon system. They chose lined lagoons over a traditional wastewater treatment plant, reducing the project cost from $32 million to $23 million. Sewage flows into the first lagoon where solids will settle, then be pumped into the second lagoon for final treatment. A permit from EGLE allows them to release treated water twice a year into a local creek.

Worth Township’s sewer district also includes 11 pump stations.

Oceana County Airport wanted to restore the Pavement Condition Index (PCI) ratings on its runway without incurring the cost of removing and replacing the pavement. Prein&Newhof worked with Oceana County to identify an FAA eligible surface treatment that could be applied at a lower cost while still extending pavement life.

Runway 9/27, the terminal apron, the main connecting taxiway way, and approximately half of the connecting taxi-streets were constructed in 1999. Two more taxi-streets and part of the parallel taxiway were constructed in 2004. Pavement Condition Index ratings were between 33 and 61. The pavement rated at 33 was removed and replaced, and surface treatment was applied to prolong pavement life and to restore favorable PCI ratings.

An FAA P-629 Thermoplastic Coal Tar Emulsion, commonly known as “Grip-Flex”, was selected for the runway. Since Oceana County did not want to replace its existing pavement, a method to address five-inch-wide cracks on the runway was needed. Normal crack sealing materials are not effective at this width even if backing material is used. Prein&Newhof worked with Oceana County to identify a polymer-based sealant that could fill the void while remaining flexible enough to allow the pavement to move.

Prein&Newhof was the lead consultant and performed project administration, all design functions, construction staking, and construction observation services. SOMAT Engineering provided material testing. The project included 31,000 feet of crack sealing, 48,000 square yards of surface treatment, 47,000 square feet of pavement markings, and 200 tons of hot mix asphalt.

A labor union associated with one of the subcontractors went on strike shortly before the project started. The subcontractor was not able to perform the work during the original project schedule as a result. Prein&Newhof worked with Oceana County and Ameriseal of Ohio (the primary contractor) to leave the pavement in place over the winter of 2018–2019 and re-mobilize in Spring of 2019 to complete the work. All work was performed at the original bid prices.

Heritage Landing is a county park on Muskegon Lake’s shore that has a large man-made peninsula to allow large boat docking for tall ships and small cruise ships. The tip of the peninsula was protected by a timber wall which due to high lake levels was submerged.  Waves were eroding the shoreline and were threatening to erode park infrastructure. This project involved construction of a new higher wall and a new dock to accommodate larger Great Lakes cruise ships for Heritage Landing.

The Wall

Prein&Newhof completed a preliminary engineering study to check the structural integrity of the low timber wall and to provide recommendations for protecting the peninsula. Finding the existing timber wall was structurally unsound, Prein&Newhof recommended a new higher steel sheet pile wall, and proceeded to design it. The wall design required permits from both the United States Army Corp of Engineers (USACE) and EGLE. Prein&Newhof got the permits, and developed bid documents, and provided construction phase services including staking, administration, and construction observation.

The Dock

During construction of the new wall, a great lakes cruising company expressed interest in including Muskegon in its itinerary. Their 325-ft-long ships were too long to dock at Heritage Landing—they board their passengers from the middle of the ship, which did not line up with any of the existing docks. To accommodate the cruise ship, Muskegon decided to build a new dock. In order to obtain a permit, the dock was designed to sit on piles driven into the subsurface rather than sitting on fill, which the State discourages since filling “bottomland” takes water from the public trust.

P&N designed the cruise ship dock while the contractor built the sheet pile wall, starting design in late March 2016, getting a permit, and meeting the deadline for the first cruise ship’s arrival on June 9. Prein&Newhof got the permits quickly by designing the cruise ship dock to minimize environmental disruption. The design kept everything simple and constructible, and the project was complete six days early.

Lakewood Boulevard is a major corridor for Holland residents, with hospitals and clinics, businesses including Boar’s Head, Walmart, and local restaurants, and the main route to the Holland State Park and lakeshore beaches. The existing main under the road was spiral-welded steel transmission main over 50 years old that had several breaks throughout the years. This project was the fourth of six phases that needed to be replaced. The first three phases occurred between 2012–2015 along 136th Avenue, replacing 18,000 feet of 16-inch to 30-inch diameter water main. This fourth phase replaced 7,500 feet of 16-inch diameter water main.

Prein&Newhof was the design engineer for the project and worked with Holland Charter Township to perform construction observation, construction staking, and survey.

This project required coordination with CSX Transportation due to required traffic shifts during construction, and MDOT for work near ramps and under the US–31 overpass. In order to minimize the disruption to traffic, two HDPE directional drills were completed under box culverts within MDOT Right-of-Way and around on/off ramps to US–31. Coordinating with local businesses, transportation departments and residents was particularly unique as Lakewood Boulevard is a major corridor to local businesses and tanks throughout this area. In addition, several fire lines and domestic water services needed to be changed over to the new main while minimizing disruption to those businesses.

Boar’s Head, a local deli, operates 24/7 and will only close temporarily over the weekend (maybe once per month) for cleaning. The water supply layout was set up so that the connection from the old system to the new water main would temporarily shut down Boar’s Head’s water supply, so a line stop ended up being used to prevent this. A line stop is a permanent valve that can be installed within a live water main without shutting it down. Installation went smoothly, and Boar’s Head was able to stay operational while the connection was made.

This project had over 4,000 linear feet of existing water main without valves, making the project particularly difficult to phase and switch a total of 14 distribution connections and 32 water services from the old main to the new main. This meant that almost the entire project limits were under construction and limited to two way traffic (normally five lanes), as restoration was limited until the majority of the water main was completed and fully connected to the old system.

The team had to coordinate night time connections in order to not interfere with daytime schedules and operations of local hospitals and clinics along Lakewood Boulevard. The overall coordination with all local businesses, organizations and residents was positive with limited negative feedback regarding the project.

A pipe that runs under the Grand River from the City of Ferrysburg, Spring Lake Township, and the Village of Spring Lake to the Grand Haven/Spring Lake Sewer Authority (GHSLSA) Wastewater Treatment Plant needed to be replaced. The pipe carries wastewater (3.5 Million Gallons a day) from Spring Lake Township to the treatment plant in Grand Haven.  This pipe was originally installed in the 1972 via the open cut method.  The ductile iron river crossing pipe was bedded in organic muck with only approximately 3 to 5 feet of river bottom on top of it.  Over the last 45 years it has failed twice, once by a suspected anchor strike and the most recent one due to external pipe corrosion.  Both breaks resulted in significant releases into the river.

In early 2017, Ottawa County Road Commission, acting as the financing agent for the Authority, and the GHSLSA developed a project that included upgrades and improvements to sewer lift stations in Spring Lake, Ferrysburg, and Grand Haven along with headworks upgrades at the treatment plant. The replacement of the force main from Spring Lake was also part of this project. The Road Commission hired Prein&Newhof to assess the condition of the existing force main in this critical location. In addition to reviewing options for rehabilitating or replacing the pipe, Prein&Newhof also analyzed the system’s existing capacity and determined what was needed to accommodate increased flow capacity due to growth in the region. The review determined the need for a new pipeline that not only could resist corrosion and be located deeper to protect against boating but also larger to provide more flow capacity.

The team compared trenchless methods with a barge-supported open cut approach and reviewed multiple pipe alignments and pipe materials. The project was reviewed with the Army Corps of Engineers and the Michigan Department of Environment Great Lakes and Energy to determine all known obstacles and concerns with the proposed project. Ultimately Horizontal Directional Drilling was determined to be the best approach.  HDD could complete the installation without impacting navigation on the waterway and there was some concerns that endangered mollusks were present in this stretch of the river.  HDD also allowed for a deeper pipe installation resulting in better protection of the pipeline. Prein&Newhof and the GHSLSA met with horizontal directional drilling (HDD) contractors during design to review feasibility of crossing the Grand River and limitations to the method, such as pipeline assembly and layout, drill staging, vibration, noise issues, access, and other impacts to local residents and businesses. All portions of the force main on land were determined to be installed via traditional open cut methods due to the tight working conditions, multiple turns in the alignment and presence of numerous other utilities.

Soil borings were completed in the river to depths of 120 ft. in order to understand the feasibility of the drill and to provide contractors information on how to approach the project. Soils were determined to be Very Soft Organic Silt and Marl in the river and extremely stiff clay on the shore at the bore entry and exit locations. The bore path was designed prior to receiving bids with the resultant path 90 ft below the bottom of the river in order to protect against hydrofracture. The length of the bore was designed to be 3,875 ft. from entry on the north side of the river to the exit on the south side of the river.  The project was broken up into two contracts with the land portion and all connections being made by an excavating company and the crossing by a specialized HDD contractor. Pipe materials were selected based on numerous factors such as ease of maneuvering and assembly, tensile strength, inside diameter, and corrosion resistance. Fusible PVC was the selected pipe material due to its high pull strength compared to HDPE for the same wall thickness. This allowed for a thinner wall section to be selected and ultimately smaller bore hole with the Fusible PVC than would be allowed with HDPE. For the land based portion restrained joint ductile iron pipe was selected with poly wrap.  Ductile Iron provided high strength and made it easier to work with in the tight conditions than a fused product.

Directional drill operations began on Cutler Street in the Village of Spring Lake. The team set up sound attenuation fencing to minimize disturbance to nearby residents and vibration monitoring equipment within the neighborhood to monitor impacts of the project to the surrounding structures. Drilling of the Pilot hole began on March 5 with completion of the pilot on March 19. Pipe reaming was begun immediately following the pilot hole and enlarged the 10” diameter pilot hole to 26 inches in diameter. Pipe pull back was started on April 10 following completion of the reaming and was completed within 13 hours. The pipe was “staged and pulled” from the south (Grand Haven) to the north (Spring Lake). Due to the limited amount of room for pipe staging the pipe was fused into six sections prior to the pull back. During Pull Back the pulling operation was paused intermittently to fuse each section together. The pipe was filled with water during the pullback operation to provide buoyancy control, the water helped lower the pullback forces by keeping the pipeline in the middle of the prepared hole.

Prior to completion of the pilot hole West Michigan Dirtworks, the excavating contractor, was installing the land based portion of the force main on the south side of the river and ultimately transferring the flow from the existing force main to the new forcemain. This work had to be completed prior to completion of the pilot hole due to the close proximity of the pilot hole exit to the existing pipeline. This also allowed for restoration of the roadway in front of an RV Resort prior to the start of the summer season. Following completion of the river crossing the land portion of the north side of the pipeline was completed and connected to the pump station. Flow was introduced into the new pipeline on June 6. The end result was a pipeline with a greater depth, eliminating the risk of boat or anchor strikes, a pipeline resistant to soil corrosion and an increased capacity from 3.5 MGD to 4.9 MGD.

In 2016, The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (now referred to as EGLE) announced a requirement for communities to establish a water system asset management plan by 2018.

The Asset Management process produces three documents:

  1. Asset Management Plan – “WHAT” – Statement of Goals/Guiding Principles
  2. Asset Management Program – “HOW” – How you will accomplish those goals
  3. Capital Improvement Plan (CIP)


A governing body can develop and ratify the plan, which is non-technical and can be understood by the non-technical public. The Program is a detailed implementation document for staff. The CIP is edited more often for more on-the-ground planning with municipal staff.

Prein&Newhof continues to work with dozens of communities’ water asset management plans. There are several steps to the asset management process for water systems:

    1. Defining Our Goals – What is our desired Level of Service?
    2. Inventory – What do we own?
    3. Risk of Failure – what are the conditions of our assets?
    4. Consequence of Failure – what happens with a failure?
    5. Criticality – How do we prioritize our actions?
    6. Capacity – Do we have enough, Now and for the future?
    7. Operations and Maintenance – Keeping up with routine work
    8. Capital Improvements – Continuing system renewal
    9. Financial Strategy – Rate planning and stability

Part of Bath Charter Township’s wastewater collection system had limited downstream capacity. Hydrogen sulfide had corroded an aging concrete sewer, and it needed replacement. One of the Township’s main lift stations, Lift Station 203, had to be operated manually during significant rainfalls to avoid downstream overflows. This project solved these problems, eliminated an unnecessary lift station, and opened the door for a follow-up project to eliminate another lift station believed to be contributing to corrosion issues elsewhere in Bath’s collection system.

Prein&Newhof reviewed alternatives from Bath Charter Township’s 2016 State Revolving Fund Project Plan, which they produced using a 2013 S2 Grant. Prein&Newhof presented four modified alternatives to Bath and the Southern Clinton County Municipal Utilities Authority (SCCMUA), the wastewater operator for Bath, who chose the most cost-effective one.

The chosen alternative included installing an over-sized trunk sewer to serve as an equalization (EQ) basin and building a new Lift Station 203. The EQ basin creates enough storage volume for the sewer system upstream of Lift Station 203 to handle high flows without backing up into people’s homes.

The new Lift Station 203 communicates with the downstream lift station to coordinate operating conditions based on real-time flows. For example, in a high flow event, if the downstream station is overwhelmed, Lift Station 203’s pump speed decreases while the EQ basin fills. Once the downstream station is no longer overwhelmed, Lift Station 203’s pump speed will increase while the EQ basin drains.

The design chose a new lift station site 800 ft. away from the existing lift station location in order to eliminate another existing lift station only 1,500 ft. from the original lift station.The EQ basin was buried parallel to a corroding 18-in. concrete trunk sewer so it could be abandoned once the EQ basin was operational and to minimize bypass pumping operations during construction.

The project was designed to be built in two phases. The first phase was operational in late 2018. The first phase included:

  • 2,200 ft. of 60-in. sewer serving as an in-line equalization (EQ) basin
  • 35 ft. of 24-in., 160 ft. of 18-in., and 820 ft. of 8-in. sewer
  • Installation of several large diameter polymer concrete manholes
  • Installation of a triplex submersible lift station with a 30 ft.-deep polymer concrete wet well
  • Demolition of two lift stations
  • The scope of the second phase is:
  • 2,300 ft. of 48-in. sewer serving as an in-line EQ basin
  • Installation of several large diameter polymer concrete manholes
  • 165 ft. of 12-in., 170 ft. of 8-in. sewer
  • Demolition of one lift station

Weekly updates were published to Bath’s website during active construction, and Township Board members were regularly updated on project progress and construction challenges.