Traverse City Record-Eagle

March 29, 2013

TC receives check to repair breakwater storm damages


Traverse City Record-Eagle

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BY MATT TROUTMAN
mtroutman@record-eagle.com
 
TRAVERSE CITY — Superstorm Sandy may have damaged the northeast breakwater at Clinch Park, but it’s also indirectly paying for repairs.
Traverse City received a $99,000 check this week from Michigan Municipal League Liability and Property Pool, an insurance company that initially rejected the claim.
City Manager Ben Bifoss said strong north winds coupled with shallow water during the late October storm washed out the underlying breakwater structure. It’s been closed since the incident, but the check will pay for repairs without tapping the marina’s finances, he said.
“(The check) is equal to our construction costs, less a $5,000 deductible,” he said. “The contract was awarded March 18 and construction is expected as soon as weather allows.”
Insurance company officials argued the policy didn’t cover damages because they claimed damages were to a “dike”, “dock” or “pier.”
City Clerk Ben Marentette used Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary in the appeal to argue the breakwater “is neither a dike, nor a dock,” and the damage was consistent with waves whipped up by the intense storm.
The appeal was successful.
“We appreciate that our insurance company looked at the coverage language and had a somewhat open mind,” Marentette said.
Bifoss said the city’s marina fund — generated by fees and other boater-related revenues — would have paid for the repairs without the insurance coverage.