The Big Dig


The long-awaited upgrade to Beulah Beach began in early April 2012, when heavy equipment and materials arrived to begin the Big Dig. The Lake Street Waterfront Project began moving full speed ahead. Beulah Mayor ProTem Jim Kilgus noted at the time that work began with site preparation and removals, and would be concluded with restoration and landscaping. Beulah Beach again became available for public use by Memorial Day Weekend and the project fully completed by June 30,2012.

A project drawing by Gozling-Czubak Engineering Sciences, Inc., included in the most recent Beulah Newsletter – spring 2012.

The pictures taken during construction show the in-process construction that stretched from Lake  & Prospect Sts. (adjacent to playground & bathhouse) north to the boat launch at Clark & Lake Street. A low wall rises above the east edge of this continuous walkway – a built-in safety measure – separating beach visitor from the one-way motor traffic & the new bike lane on Lake Street. Semi-circular seating pods are located across the beach for lakeside relaxation. A small plaza, erected at the center of the beach walk at the end of Commercial Street, offers seasonal placement of planters & tables for picnics and sunset views. North of the plaza a pedestrian bridge crosses over Cold Creek where it flows into Crystal Lake.   The area located north of this bridge – just south of the boat launch – was raised and recontoured for a large seating pod, new turf & landscaping.

Although the Beulah boat launch was not reconstructed at this time, the areas surrounding and leading to it were amended and are much improved.

A key component of this project addressed how storm and water run-off drains into Crystal Lake.  In the first step of a long range plan, new and sophisticated filtration systems were designed to replace the old-fashioned storm drains above the beach thatfor years caught and drained any unfiltered water directly into the lake.  The new filtration drain components, covered by permeable surfaces under the west edge of Lake Street, are the first point where rainwater & water run-off are filtered.  Next, huge boulders arranged in circles form several settling basins along the beach.  They are the final point for run-off filtration before it seeps into the beach sands and reaches the lake.  The two-part upgrade goes a long way to insure that the high quality of Crystal Lake water, and that the Crystal Lake Watershed continues to be vibrant.

Future plans for Streetscape; the removal of old sidewalks and replacements by new curbs and sidewalks; the removal and replacement of streetlights and their wires; and possibly reconstruction of new streets will include further efforts to deal with water runoff that is caused by storms and melting snow in different parts of the village where new drains and filtering systems will eventually be placed.

The Great Lakes Trust Fund for Waterfront Revitalization awarded $277,700 to Beulah in December 2010.  Additional monies from the Village added to that brought the project total to about approximately $305,000. What all began as a big dream is now a reality.

Acting as the Village liaison, Charley Kinzel worked diligently with members of Beulah Booster, Inc. – Phil Downs, Vicki Carpenter and Joan Duggan.  This consortium devoted almost 4 years, researching and gathering the data required for a grant application.  Meetings with Department of Natural Resource officials were attended, and other State and local government departments were required to weigh in on the project.  In addition, the committee spent many hours in extensive planning sessions with project designer/manager and engineering firm, Gosling-Czubak.   Over those years, Beulah Boosters sought the opinions of residents through surveys and open meetings. This allowed citizens an opportunity to prioritize issues they felt were key to beautifying their village and strengthening its economic base.   Finally, required hearings were held by Village Council and at long last the grant was sent to Lansing.