GRAND RAPIDS, Mich., — An area prone to flooding around Tremont Boulevard is getting a major makeover. Monday, crews began demolishing the first of several homes along the street to create a green space. When the work is completed, only five houses will be left standing.
The homes, many built in the 1950′s, frequently experienced issues with flash flooding due to drainage problems. City officials announced the plan to buy and tear down the homes in March, thanks to a grant from FEMA. The $850,000 thousand dollar grant will cover most of the project, estimated at just over $1 million dollars. Officials maintain demolition is more cost-effective than replacing and fixing the pipes in the area to alleviate the flooding.
Ed Kettle captured the demolition on his phone as the house next door to his was torn down Monday afternoon. Kettle, who has lived in the home more than 30 years, is frustrated and not sure what to do next.
“It’s like OK, this is it. It’s over,” Kettle told FOX 17 News. “It’s the uncertainty of the whole thing, we don’t know what our property values are going to be like living next to what we know is going to be an open field.”
The demolition process is expected to last about three weeks.
A meeting will be held Thursday to gather input from neighbors in the area about what they would like to see happen in the green space. The meeting is scheduled to begin at 6 p.m. at Holy Spirit Parish located at 2230 Lake Michigan Drive.