Streets being changed in the Arena District for new development

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — Preparations began Thursday for the Studio Park development south of Van Andel Arena, and major changes are in store for streets in that part of downtown Grand Rapids.

The first change is in effect: All traffic that takes the Downtown Exit into the Arena District from northbound US-131 must turn right or left on Cherry Street. Traffic will no longer be able to continue one more block to Oakes Street.

A temporary traffic signal has been added to the intersection at Cherry Street and Ionia Avenue.

Phase 2 of the project will see the closure of Cherry Street in March for work on the store sewer and street lighting. Also in March and stretching into April, northbound Ottawa Avenue will be closed for sewer work.

Phase 4 runs from May to July, when Oakes Street (closest to the southern end of Van Andel Arena) will be closed for work on sewers, water mains, lighting, sidewalks, and landscaping.

In July, Ionia Street will be closed between Cherry and Oakes Streets for utility work.

Phase 6 in July and August will see Cherry Street closed between the ramp from northbound US-131 and Ionia Avenue for sewer and lighting work and widening of the street.

The final phase of the project will result in the extension of Ottawa Street to Cherry Street in June and July.

The Area 4 and Area 5 parking lots will remain open during this series of projects, though the city has sold the lots to the developers.

All the work is scheduled to be done by ArtPrize.

The $3.2 million cost to the city is expected to be reimbursed through Brownfield and DDA Tax Increment Financing and new taxes eventually generated by the Studio Park development.

An open house is planned to allow the public to get answers to questions: Wednesday, February 21, 4 p.m to 6 p.m. at the Grand Rapids Community Foundation, 185 Oakes Street SW.

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