GR_Urbanist

The Grand River?! You mean GR has a River?

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4 hours ago, MJLO said:

I think it's still kind of too far out for anything resembling the projects happening downtown to be viable on that space.  It's definitely got the potential to be a prime location but it's surrounded by a largely industrial dead zone.  Anything in the game changing range would stick out like a sore thumb and risks being under utilized.  Anything smaller and mixed use probably doesn't justify the cost of the property/construction.   I think the city will need to see another momentum surge like it did 2014-2016 for demand to creep up the river and repurpose those industrial properties along Front and Scribner.  Probably a couple years out if it happens again. 

Right on. I think in 10-15 years it should be worth much more

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On April 9, the Ottawa County Board of Commissioners will consider an official policy stance on the dredging of the Grand River from the Bass River Inlet to Fulton Street to allow boats to traverse the river between Lake Michigan and downtown. Reading reactions online - it's pretty split down the middle between people that think it's the worst idea to ever be conceived by man and those that are all for it.

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2 hours ago, GRLaker said:

On April 9, the Ottawa County Board of Commissioners will consider an official policy stance on the dredging of the Grand River from the Bass River Inlet to Fulton Street to allow boats to traverse the river between Lake Michigan and downtown. Reading reactions online - it's pretty split down the middle between people that think it's the worst idea to ever be conceived by man and those that are all for it.

On the one hand, I think it'd be cool to be able to take a boat from Lake Michigan into GR. On the other, just looking at the all of the environmental regulations involved with restoring the rapids, I can't imagine this moving forward.

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Agreed. I think it would be cool, but also think it has a snowballs chance in hell of actually getting done. 

Joe

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I've also heard that there are no plans in place or funding in place to maintain dredging or maintenance of buoys. And much of it infringes on riparian rights of certain landowners along the Grand River. They really need to spend a few years consulting with those affected by this. 

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1 hour ago, Raildude's dad said:

Anyone see the irony of restoring the rapids in GR, returning the river to it's natural state and the next project is dredging and channelizing the next 20-25 miles downstream.

I actually think it’s the perfect compliment of utilization, a river that offers a bit of everything, cleaned up from industrialization and now is a center of recreation and more of a connection to the big lake like GR promoters have always wanted 

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18 hours ago, Raildude's dad said:

Anyone see the irony of restoring the rapids in GR, returning the river to it's natural state and the next project is dredging and channelizing the next 20-25 miles downstream.

I've heard that there's a lot of opposition to this. Hibma doesn't have any plans for dredging again in the future, no budget or thought toward buoys which will be required, and there are several areas where homeowners have riparian rights that extend out into the river who have not given approval to disturb their river bottoms. It's a poorly thought out mess. The opposition is apparently well organized, they reached out to me via FB.

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How long would it take to no wake zone it from GR to Grand Haven? It seems like it would be a 3 hour tour. A 3 HOUR TOUR (sorry, Gilliam’s island got stuck in my head). 

I cant imagine the number of environmental studies that would have to be done / could stop dredging in its tracks. I know the snuffbox mussel has caused a significant amount of extra work with the Rapids. I just can’t imagine this being economically / environmentally feasible. 

Joe

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8 hours ago, joeDowntown said:

How long would it take to no wake zone it from GR to Grand Haven? It seems like it would be a 3 hour tour. A 3 HOUR TOUR (sorry, Gilliam’s island got stuck in my head). 

I cant imagine the number of environmental studies that would have to be done / could stop dredging in its tracks. I know the snuffbox mussel has caused a significant amount of extra work with the Rapids. I just can’t imagine this being economically / environmentally feasible. 

Joe

The people who want this and are pushing for this don't want it to be a no-wake zone. They probably want it to be like the Hardy Dam Pond up by Newaygo (which is basically Muskegon River behind the dam).  Offshore racing boats run up and down that thing. 

I just rode a fan/air boat in Florida yesterday, can't believe those haven't become a thing on the Grand River. No prop in the water to worry about hitting logs, and no need for dredging. 

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I've been doing GIS at the Ottawa County Water Resources office and Dan "York creek castle man" Hibma has been in our office three time the last two weeks. The little I've been told is that there is a lot of opposition and hoops to jump but he has a huge state grant, a lot of money and he and his wife know the strings to pull. I think he's currently trying to grease as many skids as possible.  

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10 minutes ago, HavingAhoot said:

I've been doing GIS at the Ottawa County Water Resources office and Dan "York creek castle man" Hibma has been in our office three time the last two weeks. The little I've been told is that there is a lot of opposition and hoops to jump but he has a huge state grant, a lot of money and he and his wife know the strings to pull. I think he's currently trying to grease as many skids as possible.  

Yes he got funding from Arlan Meekhof in the lame duck legislature a few months ago. People are saying that the state grant doesn't come anywhere close to paying for the dredging, which they're also saying his estimates are way too low. 

https://www.grandhaventribune.com/Environment/2019/03/27/Officials-probe-Health-Pointe-tax-exemption

Do I think it would be cool? Sure I guess. Will it benefit the community as a whole? I think it will be used by a couple hundred boaters a year and that's it, people who have the means to do it. It would be a really long boat ride with frankly not a lot to see. The Grand River is pretty when you're gliding by paddling a canoe or kayak. But frankly if you're in Spring Lake or Grand Haven, and you think "Hmmm, do we go the 2 - 3 hour drive upriver to downtown GR, or do we go out to Lake Michigan where there's 1000's of people, we can anchor in the shallows and swim, see the sunset, people watch, swim up to shore and walk the beach, go get a Pronto Pup, "see and be seen."..     If both vacant Market Avenue parcels were developed with riverfront activities, I could see it. Maybe they should wait 20 years? Do all the environmental studies that need to be done in the meantime?

Restoring the rapids is going on 10 years of studies and fundraising, and public input sessions... 

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Interesting timing. A guy I know in the community who is a HUGE fisherman, owns a lodge on the Manistee, and is featured in a lot of videos and local TV interviews about fishing by the 6th Street dam and how unique it is as an urban fishery, just posted this on his FB page:

"If you fish or guide on the Grand River between Bass River and Fulton Street in Grand Rapids you need to become aware of this dredging project. The dredging of the Grand is being done to support the potential development of a marina near Grand Rapids. If dredged, steelhead, salmon, smallmouth bass, northern pike and walleye populations will be impacted through a reduction in habitat and migratory corridors. Please voice your concern during the public comment period. There is still time. Please share this post to get the word out."

This dredging project's dead, lol. 

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On 4/3/2019 at 9:15 AM, GRDadof3 said:

Interesting timing. A guy I know in the community who is a HUGE fisherman, owns a lodge on the Manistee, and is featured in a lot of videos and local TV interviews about fishing by the 6th Street dam and how unique it is as an urban fishery, just posted this on his FB page:

"If you fish or guide on the Grand River between Bass River and Fulton Street in Grand Rapids you need to become aware of this dredging project. The dredging of the Grand is being done to support the potential development of a marina near Grand Rapids. If dredged, steelhead, salmon, smallmouth bass, northern pike and walleye populations will be impacted through a reduction in habitat and migratory corridors. Please voice your concern during the public comment period. There is still time. Please share this post to get the word out."

This dredging project's dead, lol. 

Then again...The fishermen were staunchly against the rapids restoration as well and they seem to be moving full steam ahead with that.

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31 minutes ago, ModSquad said:

I can’t resist pointing out (a bit off topic here) that Hibma was the driving force behind the eventual demise of the Kent County Land Bank Authority.  He sued the KCLBA all the way to the Michigan Supreme Court and lost, and as we now know eventually got enough votes at the County Commission level to command the County Treasurer to withdraw from the Intergovernmental Agreement which allows the KCLA to exist.

His main argument is that the KCLBA was “government interfering in the private sector.”   I should point to that Hibma has been buying up land along the Grand River for years between Grand Rapids and the lakeshore.  Now he is pressing the government to pay to dredge the river so his land will artificially triple or quadruple in value.

Someone please tell me how is this not the government interfering in the private sector?  If Hibma wants the river dredged so bad he should pay 100% for the legal work to get the right to do it, and for the work itself.  If he lobby’s for and gets even one dime of government funds to pay for this work then he is asking the government to “pick winners and losers,” which is another argument he has used agaisnt the KCLBA.

This is unfortunate and is a brand of capitalism that really grinds my gears. At the risk of sounding political...Government is meant to work for its people as a whole, not serve as a perpetual form of income for the rich. 

I like the idea of this project and hope at some point in the future it goes through and is done in a sustainable way that benefits both the environment and the people of West Michigan. I don't want this to serve as a money maker for an apartment owner funded by taxpayers. 

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22 hours ago, GRLaker said:

Then again...The fishermen were staunchly against the rapids restoration as well and they seem to be moving full steam ahead with that.

8 - 10 years of meeting with the fishermen and women helped a lot with that. And it turns out the rapids restoration will be better for fish habitat. I'm not so sure that dredging does (?)

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3 hours ago, GRDadof3 said:

8 - 10 years of meeting with the fishermen and women helped a lot with that. And it turns out the rapids restoration will be better for fish habitat. I'm not so sure that dredging does (?)

I think the project also evolved a lot over the years based on the anglers input. So it went from being whitewater-centric to making sure it worked for everyone. 

From what @modsquad posted, it kind of seems like a pet project of one small group, with profits in mind. 

Joe

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One element of the dredging project that’s not discussed is the possibility to use it commercially. Saginaw River is about half the length and is dredged and used commercially. there’s many inland river systems heck Tulsa Oklahoma has a port and is he used commercially.  Stockton California would be a similar situation that connects it to the  San Francisco Bay.  It would be a unique opportunity to connect to the Great Lakes, most cities do not have that Ability.  It seems the commercial upside for the region would far outweigh the negative affect on a few land owners and fishing spots Which are everywhere in the state.

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15 minutes ago, GR8scott said:

One element of the dredging project that’s not discussed is the possibility to use it commercially. Saginaw River is about half the length and is dredged and used commercially. there’s many inland river systems heck Tulsa Oklahoma has a port and is he used commercially.  Stockton California would be a similar situation that connects it to the  San Francisco Bay.  It would be a unique opportunity to connect to the Great Lakes, most cities do not have that Ability.  It seems the commercial upside for the region would far outweigh the negative affect on a few land owners and fishing spots Which are everywhere in the state.

It would be interesting if we ended up having an inland port like Ghent in Belgium. But wasn't Port Sheldon supposed to be the commercial port for Grand Rapids? Not exactly seeing a lot of use. Would probably have to also fight with Grand Haven over the issue, as I'm sure they wouldn't want to see competition for Grand Rapidians when it comes to boating, both in tourism and in commercial use.

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2 hours ago, GR8scott said:

One element of the dredging project that’s not discussed is the possibility to use it commercially. Saginaw River is about half the length and is dredged and used commercially. there’s many inland river systems heck Tulsa Oklahoma has a port and is he used commercially.  Stockton California would be a similar situation that connects it to the  San Francisco Bay.  It would be a unique opportunity to connect to the Great Lakes, most cities do not have that Ability.  It seems the commercial upside for the region would far outweigh the negative affect on a few land owners and fishing spots Which are everywhere in the state.

Would the river even be deep enough for commercial activity? 

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41 minutes ago, WMrapids said:

Would the river even be deep enough for commercial activity? 

I would think that it would be too narrow in spots for any commercial shipping. 

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As someone said also, you dredge that much, that most likely contaminated silt/bottomland has to go somewhere. Who wants it? You can't put it in landfills.

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20 hours ago, GR8scott said:

One element of the dredging project that’s not discussed is the possibility to use it commercially. Saginaw River is about half the length and is dredged and used commercially. there’s many inland river systems heck Tulsa Oklahoma has a port and is he used commercially.  Stockton California would be a similar situation that connects it to the  San Francisco Bay.  It would be a unique opportunity to connect to the Great Lakes, most cities do not have that Ability.  It seems the commercial upside for the region would far outweigh the negative affect on a few land owners and fishing spots Which are everywhere in the state.

If you look at the nautical chart for the Saginaw River, it is lined with industrial activity, stone docks, agricultural commodities such as grain and fertilizers. The ag business serves the thumb and central MI. We have ag here but not to the extent there is over there. The GM foundry was a big user back in the day, coal fired poer plants etc. . All the industrial users on the Grand are downstream from the US 31 bridge, stone, cement and fertilizer. The Grand has a marked channel up to the Bass River pits. Sand hasn't been mined there for many decades. The Corps still marks some of the channel with buoys but it's not very deep. Both the Saginaw and lower Grand have access to good highway transportation. The upper Grand, not so.

19 hours ago, tSlater said:

It would be interesting if we ended up having an inland port like Ghent in Belgium. But wasn't Port Sheldon supposed to be the commercial port for Grand Rapids? Not exactly seeing a lot of use. Would probably have to also fight with Grand Haven over the issue, as I'm sure they wouldn't want to see competition for Grand Rapidians when it comes to boating, both in tourism and in commercial use.

As for Port Sheldon, the commercial user is Consumers barging in large components of the air quality systems and other power plant parts. It's shallow and can only handle tugs and barges.  The neighbors would come unglued if a ag terminal was set up there and the associated trucks in and out. The channel can't be widened without buying a number of homes

If you want to spend some time looking at some neat nautical charts:
https://www.nauticalchartsonline.com/charts/NOAA/Great-Lakes

Grand River and Grand Haven, charts 14931 and 14933, Saginaw 14867

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