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Posted: Friday, 25 April 2014 3:00PM

Leahy Says Life Ring Costs To Be Minimal, Pleased With Progress

The Berrien County Commissioner who pushed hardest to have life rings installed on the south pier at Silver Beach County Park is pleased that the project is moving forward with the plans to have them installed around Memorial Day. Commissioner Jeanette Leahey says concerns by others on the county board that the rings will be stolen, which plagued a similar safety effort 20 years ago, are being addressed.


Leahey says the cameras and monitoring by the Sheriff's Department Marine Division will allow close tabs to be kept on where new rings are needed if they're stolen. She said not moving forward because of liability fears makes no sense, as the county actively markets the pier as a tourist attraction and made this comparison:


Costs to the county will be minimal for adding the rings, as the stands are being built in-house. Large donations are pending, including $10,000 from the Cook Nuclear Plant. A donation has also been offered for the life rings themselves.


Leahey, Commissioner Bob Wooley and County Administrator Bill Wolf spoke to the St. Joseph City Commission earlier this year to try to get them to join the efforts and put life rings on the north pier at Tiscornia Beach. The city declined for the time being due to the renovations of the lighthouses and closure of the north pier in 2015 for that work, but Leahey believes once they have time to research the proposal, the city will join them.


A similar catwalk in Grand Haven has life rings attached. Leahey mentioned while making her comments to WSJM News that she was speaking on her own behalf and not representing the position of the County Board as a whole.


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