Brendan VanderMeer

Dairy Treat’s structure only remains as the rest of the building was demolished last month.

From polka dots to condo complexes

November 26, 2019

As you drive through downtown Grand Haven, you may notice the number of iconic buildings or the small mom-and-pop shops scattered throughout the town. Maybe even the compact white building with polka-dots on the corner of Harbor and Lafayette with the triangular sign atop the roof with block lettering that spells “Dairy Treat.” 

For some of us, the shop blends in as a regular small-town business, but for others, it represents the many childhood memories waiting in line for ice cream from one of Grand Haven’s most quality ice cream shops. 

However, the polka-dots and red block lettering were recently ripped from its foundation by excavators and carried away by dump trucks to make way for a multi-unit condo complex.

Decisions like this are becoming all too common in Grand Haven. It’s destroying classic icons which bring thousands of tourists to make way for fancy condo complexes. 

Although Dairy Treat will introduce a new look and will utilize a storefront inside the condo complex, the argument is much bigger. 

The iconic pier, sunny beaches and the tourism industry are a few things Grand Haven is known for. However, the increasing housing complexes within the city limits could soon become a contender in those top three. 

The city ought to keep its focus on the things locals and tourists idolize our city for- the small unique shops and beautiful downtown cityscape. 

People are discovering the beauty of Grand Haven which is increasing the demand of housing opportunities. But for some in order to accommodate the rise, they feel we need to build complexes within the city that stick out like a sore thumb, which is entirely wrong. 

In 2018 an apartment building was constructed on Franklin Street, one of Grand Haven’s maintreets in the city. The building disrupts visitors eyes from many of our locally owned businesses to the metropolis of apartments.  

There are many other options rather than taking away the natural beauty for man-made eyesores. 

The recent addition of the Piper Lakes Condominiums complex in Grand Haven Township is a great example of a solution because it offers housing options without impeding on Grand Haven’s downtown area.

The Haven at Grand Landing Apartments is another apartment complex offering hundreds of apartments just a few minutes walk from Washington street. The land utilized was a vacant field before the addition of the apartments. The Haven proved it was possible to create housing opportunities within the city without destroying Grand Haven’s beautiful cityscape.

If Grand Haven continues down the path of condominium complexes over Grand Haven’s gorgeous downtown aura, the metropolis of multi-story condos could be on your front porch.

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