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City unveils plans for new Grand River waterfront

Posted at 1:47 PM, Nov 01, 2018
and last updated 2018-11-01 13:47:08-04

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – The City of Grand Rapids revealed conceptual plans Thursday for what the Grand River corridor could look like after restoration efforts take place.

“A revitalized riverfront will provide spaces and connected trails that invite Grand Rapidians to enjoy natural amenities in an urban context while also strengthening our community’s ability to withstand severe flood events,” Tim Kelly, president and CEO of Downtown Grand Rapids, Inc. said in a press release.

The “River for All” project includes six different sites and design guidelines the the city says will help shape the future of the river corridor. The goal is to create a user-friendly and accessible 7.5-mile river trail that will flank both sides of the Grand River between Riverside Park to the north and Millennium Park to the south.

Plans include a water storage yarda connecting trail between Leonard and Ann streets, and improvement of areas near the Grand Rapids Public Museum and Fish Ladder Park.

There are also plans to create off-street green areas and increasing natural light along the river near Coldbrook Street in addition to extending the river walk from Riverside to Millennium Park.

Grand Rapids Whitewater says that construction on the anticipated plan could begin in late 2019 or early 2020 to take advantage of $4.1 million of federal funding.  The first phase of in-river construction would take place from I-196 to Fulton Street and would remove four low-head dams currently in the river.  The Sixth Street Dam will remain in place to function as a barrier against the invasive sea lamprey until a new barrier is built upstream.

The plan was unveiled at a public meeting at DeVos Place.