Dig Deep for Leland Harbor

Dig Deep for Leland Harbor

From Kate Vilter

We are asking the Leland Community - businesses, boaters, summer residents & locals to help us raise the funds to keep the Leland Harbor open! We need to raise $250,000 to purchase a dredging equipment, and we need YOU

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Update #25

8 months ago

Please join us TODAY for our Thank You party at the Leland Harbor Building, 4pm-7pm Come check out the dredge, say hi to the crew, and enjoy light appetizers, wine and beer. We hope to see all our amazing donors today!

And Thank you to those who are making this party happen: Aurora Winery, Blustone Vineyards, Boathouse Vineyards, Chateau Fontaine, Good Harbor, Verterra, Storm Cloud Brewery, The Bluebird, Carlson's Fishery, The Cove, Gordon Foodservice, Leland Lodge, The Leland Merc, and The Riverside Inn

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Since 1965 when the US Army Corps of Engineers (“ACOE”) built the Leland Township Harbor (“the Harbor”) as a “harbor of refuge”, it has been dredged a total of 47 times at a cost now approaching $3,400,000. The last six years it has cost about $850,000 to have the dredging completed. Annual dredging has routinely been conducted by the ACOE in order to assure the accessibility of the harbor in all weather conditions.  Federal funding routinely provided funds to the ACOE to conduct this work.

All that changed about 10 years ago when Congress eliminated “earmarks” in the federal budgeting process. Earmarks had been used by the Michigan congressional delegation to assure the availability of funds.

Since that time the Harbor has had as its annual singular focus the need to obtain funding to conduct its annual dredging. Four years ago, the Harbor had to pay $129,000 of its own funds to have the channel dredged. Three years ago, the State of Michigan provided the necessary funding in the amount of $192,000. Two years ago the ACOE spent $177,000 to complete the dredging. Those funds became available as a result of intense lobbying by the Michigan congressional delegation and the Michigan Small Harbors Coalition.

This year no dredging was done despite the fact that the annual bathymetric survey conducted by the ACOE showed that 18,000 cubic yards needed to be removed from the channel to achieve the designated depth of 14 feet. The ACOE had no funding to do the dredging this year.  The State of Michigan offered $100,000 in matching funds for dredging, but then we were unable to secure the services of the dredger on a timely basis to complete the dredging for the summer season.

Prospects for funding in 2017 are bleak. Our elected federal representatives have told us there is no chance federal funding will be available in 2017. We are pessimistic on the possibilities of funding from the State of Michigan in 2017 due to the fact that there are so many harbors needing dredging that it would be impossible to meet all those needs. Beyond that we see little hope for the inclusion of dredging funding in future federal budgets.

The Leland Township Harbor Commission (“Harbor Commission”) has been dealing with this situation for a long time, and we have unfortunately arrived at the conclusion that the only long term solution for the recurring problem is to purchase our own dredge to conduct the annual dredging.

The Harbor is a significant part of the economy of Leland Township as many local businesses rely on the commercial activity generated by the many visitors who arrive by boat on a daily basis during the summer. Additionally, many local and summer residents have boats in the Harbor and have come to enjoy having their boats there.

Notwithstanding what we see as a federal “obligation” to conduct necessary maintenance dredging, our efforts with our elected federal representatives have not borne fruit. We have actively participated in the Michigan Small Harbors Coalition, which in turn has participated in the Great Lakes Small Harbors Coalition, in an effort to secure and restore regular funding, but it has not resulted in the hoped for permanent restoration of federal funds.

Likewise, we have worked through the State of Michigan, Department of Natural Resources, to secure funding with some success, but they have consistently advised we cannot rely on them for annual funding.

As a means of trying to find a long term solution to our annual dredging problem, the Harbor Commission undertook an effort to investigate purchasing a dredge. Our conclusion is that this is a viable solution which will enable us to conduct our annual dredging on a schedule that enables us to assure we will have full channel depth of 14 feet at the start of our season. Additionally, it will enable us to do periodic maintenance dredging during the year when storms have caused the channel to fill in to less than the desired depth.

We have identified a particular size and type of dredge that we think would be suitable for our needs, and we have a price quote of approximately $550,000. Careful analysis of our needs and the dredge’s capabilities has been conducted, we are confident we have identified the right equipment for our needs and have the ability to operate it.

While Leland Harbor has approximately $300,000 in financial reserves at this time, they are still not enough to pay for the cost of this purchase. We have considered borrowing the additional $250,000 required for the dredge purchase and received quotes from 2 local banks. But after careful review we concluded we cannot afford to borrow these funds. The fact is that our annual budget cannot handle BOTH the increase in annual operation and maintenance for dredge operation and maintenance AND the repayment of debt and interest.  As a result we need to raise additional funds so that we can avoid incurring debt to purchase the dredge.

We have a fantastic generous donor willing to give us a $50,000 matching donation - so if we raise $50,000 - then we are already 1/2 way there!!

We are reaching out to the entire Leland community for assistance. We ask for your financial support in this important effort that benefits everyone in our community.  Personal gifts to a municipality for a public purpose are tax deductible. IRS Publication 526 addresses this point. You can Donate RIGHT HERE on this site OR you can send checks to the Leland Township Treasurer.  Checks should be addressed to Leland Township with the notation that the funds are designated to the purchase of a dredge.  Address is PO Box 347, Lake Leelanau, MI 49653.  Thank you!!!

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Kate Vilter posted a new update:
8 months ago

Update #25

Please join us TODAY for our Thank You party at the Leland Harbor Building, 4pm-7pm Come check out the dredge, say hi to the crew, and enjoy light appetizers, wine and beer. We hope to see all our amazing donors today!

And Thank you to those who are making this party happen: Aurora Winery, Blustone Vineyards, Boathouse Vineyards, Chateau Fontaine, Good Harbor, Verterra, Storm Cloud Brewery, The Bluebird, Carlson's Fishery, The Cove, Gordon Foodservice, Leland Lodge, The Leland Merc, and The Riverside Inn

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Kate Vilter posted a new update:
8 months ago

Update #24

Less than a week until our party! We want to thank everyone who made this happen! So please stop by the harbor for a glass of wine, a beer, and a few light appetizers. Tuesday, June 27th, 4-7pm. Check out the dredge & thank the crew that worked! Hope you can come!

FYI - All wine/beer/appetizers are being donated - let us know if your business can help!!

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Kate Vilter posted a new update:
8 months ago

Update #23

We want to thank everyone who made this happen! So please stop by for a glass of wine, a beer, and a few light appetizers. Tuesday, June 27th, 4-7pm. Check out the dredge & thank the crew that worked! Hope you can come!

FYI - All wine/beer/appetizers are being donated - let us know if your business can help!!

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Kate Vilter posted a new update:
10 months ago

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Kate Vilter posted a new update:
11 months ago

Update #21

We have a date! We have been waiting for the frost restrictions to be lifted, and here we go! The Dredger will be here this FRIDAY! Yes - in just 2 days! The dredge will be delivered to the harbor on Friday late afternoon, and The Elmers Crew will be at the harbor on Saturday morning to move the dredge into the water. Training begins Monday!

Thank you to everyone who made this possible! I am so humbled and just inspired by our community!

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Kate Vilter posted a new update:
12 months ago

Update #20

This just in - we received a check donation putting us even farther over our goal - which is amazing! We are now at $275,850!!! Thank you so much Cathy & Tom Reahard!!

This is fanatic & will help us with off-season storage and the tender that the harbor will need to purchase. Thank you to EVERYONE!!

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Kate Vilter posted a new update:
12 months ago

Update #19

I just woke up to THIS number!!! $250,150!!! Thank you so much Paul Rady who closed the gap with his $6,085 donation!!!

We did it everyone!! Thank you to all for their amazing generosity!!

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Kate Vilter posted a new update:
12 months ago

Update #18

Campaign ends in 3 days!!! Almost there! Thank you to everyone who has donated - and please keep sharing!

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Kate Vilter posted a new update:
12 months ago

Update #17

Presidents Day Photo - courtesy of Sarah Peschel. No boats going through that sand! Dredge will be on the way soon, though!

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Kate Vilter posted a new update:
about 1 year ago

Update #16

Last few days! Many have been asking - do we really need more $$, and the answer is YES! We still need to purchase additional equipment for the dredge, the tender, and trailer! Please donate & share our progress!

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Kate Vilter posted a new update:
about 1 year ago

Update #15

Tonight, the Leland Township Board approved the purchase of the DSC Wolverine Class Dredge immediately (subject to their attorney reviewing the contract). It should be on it's way to Leland this spring!

Thank you so much to everyone who has made this effort a success! We are all thrilled with the results! And I am so humbled by the generosity of our Leland Community!

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Kate Vilter posted a new update:
about 1 year ago

Update #14

Thank you Elijah Allen for new drone photos. I am currently enjoying a township meeting on the budget for the dredge - this photo underlines the importance of what we are doing

Thank you to everyone for your donations! We are getting there!

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Kate Vilter posted a new update:
about 1 year ago

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Kate Vilter posted a new update:
about 1 year ago

Update #12

I love our little community! As of today, we have reached the goal for the $20,000 match from a very generous, anonymous donor. Thank you SO much to our entire community, near and far! This puts us at $195,425 - in four weeks. Wow!

You may have noticed something on the page… I changed the goal to $250,000 today. We always needed more than the $200,000, but we honestly thought that $200,000 might be pushing our fundraising abilities. In addition to the dredge, we would like to purchase a tender for the dredge or a winter storage system.

We have terrific momentum right now, so please don’t stop donating! I can’t believe that we have almost raised $200,000 in 4 weeks! Thank you so much for all your donations and support!

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Kate Vilter posted a new update:
about 1 year ago

Update #11

We are half way to our $20,000 goal! Remember, we have a $20,000 match on the table. We just hit the $10,000 mark (thank you very much generous donors!). $10,000 more, and we have a $20k match!

Thank you, Thank you! Keep it going! I can't believe I am saying this - but let's hit $200k by February 1st!!

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Kate Vilter posted a new update:
about 1 year ago

Update #10

New photo taken just the other day - it really shows the problem we have here! Thank you for the aerials Chris Wanroy!
By the way - many are asking - if you would like to write a check, please make it out to Leland Township. In the memo, write "Harbor Dredge." Mail to PO Box 347, Lake Leelanau, MI 49653

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Kate Vilter posted a new update:
about 1 year ago

Update #9

Have you seen the numbers? We are over $150,000! This is unbelievable! I am so humbled by the generosity of our Leland community, near and far.

I have even better news – we have just learned that we have an anonymous donor who wants to match the next $20,000 in donations! This would put us almost at our goal. So please, please help out with this final stretch! In a short amount of time, we could have $40,000 and almost complete our goal! Every dollar donated over the next $20,000 is worth TWO! Let’s see if we can get this to $200,000 by February 1st!!

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Kate Vilter posted a new update:
about 1 year ago

Update #8

I need to thank so many people. Just a few of the check donations received in the last few days: Joanie Woods, Fishtown Charter Services, The Leland Mercantile, The Cove, David Smith, Edward Roloson, Craig Adams, Robert Schlitts, and the Heisers (who were so much fun to chat with at the Riv!). Thank you all so much!!

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Kate Vilter posted a new update:
about 1 year ago

Update #7

Just in - Leland Chamber of Commerce has announced a $5,000 donation to the Dredge Fund!

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Kate Vilter posted a new update:
about 1 year ago

Update #6

Great news! Fishtown Preservation announced a $5,000 donation to our cause!

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