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

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This is pretty awesome. I really do hope they are able to get the funding somewhere. The kayaking/whitewater portion almost seems like a side benefit now.

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Suffice it to say after this past week, the downtown flood wall is going nowhere quickly.

 

I wouldn't be surprised if Grandville and Lowell seek federal funds to build their own floodwalls.

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As part of the "restore the rapids" effort, I would like to see a wading/swimming area.

 

Link to ordinance prohibiting this

 

It would be possible to include a designated, safe area as part of a park.

 

(This was inspired by last year's scorcher, and the GRPD posting this ordinance on their FB wall. And my July visit to Traverse City where I enjoyed a dip from one of their public beaches, and noticed all the DT retailers offering water accessories.)

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As part of the "restore the rapids" effort, I would like to see a wading/swimming area.

 

Link to ordinance prohibiting this

 

It would be possible to include a designated, safe area as part of a park.

 

(This was inspired by last year's scorcher, and the GRPD posting this ordinance on their FB wall. And my July visit to Traverse City where I enjoyed a dip from one of their public beaches, and noticed all the DT retailers offering water accessories.)

 

Nice link.  Guess there's a shortage of clams north of Leonard.  (Sec. 9.185)

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When the waters were high, I found the calm, almost rectangular body of water reaching into the green space behind the public museum quite nice, as did a few ducks.  Something like that, perhaps disconnected from the rest of the river by a net would be a good addition, I think.

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Love the hanging bridge concept. I think someone brought up here before. I'd like to see one under I-96. It'd give a great vantage point for the rapids when that project is done.

 

Joe

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Our little river made the WSJ today -

 

Real Rapids in Grand Rapids? - Restoring Michigan City's Namesake Waterway Viewed as Boon for Downtown

 

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich.—The fast-moving water that inspired this city's name disappeared more than a century ago.

Now, a group of white-water enthusiasts, environmental engineers and civic leaders are attempting to turn back time and put the frothy rapids back into the Grand River.

 

More at the link.

 

 

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Our little river made the WSJ today -

 

Real Rapids in Grand Rapids? - Restoring Michigan City's Namesake Waterway Viewed as Boon for Downtown

 

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich.—The fast-moving water that inspired this city's name disappeared more than a century ago.

Now, a group of white-water enthusiasts, environmental engineers and civic leaders are attempting to turn back time and put the frothy rapids back into the Grand River.

 

More at the link.

 

In the print edition, the article fills a half spread on page 3. That's great coverage. 

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Our little river made the WSJ today -

 

Real Rapids in Grand Rapids? - Restoring Michigan City's Namesake Waterway Viewed as Boon for Downtown

 

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich.—The fast-moving water that inspired this city's name disappeared more than a century ago.

Now, a group of white-water enthusiasts, environmental engineers and civic leaders are attempting to turn back time and put the frothy rapids back into the Grand River.

 

More at the link.

 

The comments section after that article is pretty amusing.  Not woodtv.com-level stupidity, but close.  At least unlike woodtv.com, there aren't a bunch of people offering up silly offers to pray on the topic.

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The Downtown Development Authority (DDA) Wednesday morning approved the purchase of an outdoor movie screen and equipment. The cost is around $55,000.

Read more: http://fox17online.com/2013/06/12/gr-dda-approves-outdoor-movie-screen-purchase/#ixzz2W1BCtXXj

The bit on the 5am broadcast mentioned its use in Ah-Nab-Awen with the river as a backdrop, thus its posting here.  Didn't really seem big enough for its own thread.

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I like it a lot, and I'm looking forward to the ensuing discussion this creates.

 

On a side note, I couldn't help but find it hilarious that the proposed "Extension of River Walk" goes right by the strip club/erotic accessories shop on it's way to ending at Founders.

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MDOT and the city are finally building this trail extension up to Ann Street, 2015.

 

15587227548_37712b4bfc.jpg

 

What would be really spectacular would be a trail bridge over Ann Street, much like the White Pine Trail bridge over West River Drive, once they acquire the additional pieces to connect downtown to Riverside Park.

 

I didn't know the city was looking at taking the garage at the city water facility (marked in red) and tearing it down for a possible parking lot. For the DASH shuttle? It's a long walk from pretty much everything..

 

http://www.mlive.com/news/grand-rapids/index.ssf/2014/11/where_walkway_along_grand_rive.html?ath=1a90132b90933db8002100e5723c045a#cmpid=nsltr_strybutton

 

Also buried in the agenda is FTC&H is being hired to start working on preliminary schematics for redesigning the riverfront in the downtown river corridor. Sweet!

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So I was wondering when the hell this river rapids restoration might actually begin (Detroit can pull off a $Billion riverfront investment, we should be able to pull off $50 Million), but I had a vision of a visitor feature in the center of the Gillett Pedestrian Bridge. Since the bridge is a pretty boring walk across the river, and not in the best of shape, I pictured a central structure that spanned over the bridge...

 

Think of a large old industrial mill with an actual working water wheel, with an arched opening on each side (West and East), that would be an open structure that could be experienced year round. Pay homage to the old mills along the channels that used to flank the rivers and provide power to the furniture factories. Something large enough to catch people's attention and draw them from the AGP or Ford Museum or convention center.

 

To top it off, this structure would be mixed in with the new rapids and boulder outcroppings, just like the 1700's/1800's.

 

If I had the talent I'd draw up a sketch of it. Oh well. :)

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The city of GR will have a hearing on March 10th to discuss seeking a grant to purchase the 3.68 acres North of I-196 along the Grand River, property now currently owned by Kent County, the city of GR and MSU. Total purchase is about $10,000,000 with the grant request equaling $7.5 Million and local matching funds for the rest.

 

Per the city's agenda.

 

Acquisition of this land could provide direct and full access to the river for recreation while
improving flood control and mitigation. The current riverbank in this area is defined by a sheer
floodwall that prevents direct access. This wall will need to be heightened for flood control and
mitigation purposes, further increasing the separation. The proposed acquisition would permit
a different treatment by providing space to construct a tiered, stepped-back design that
provides the necessary height while creating a multi-purpose space for recreation. We
envision active river access, gathering spaces, active use space, spectator space for water
events and other public uses. This acquisition would increase overall park acreage in the city,
enlarge the existing riverfront linear park, and support activationof the river corridor where the
restored rapids are envisioned. The alternative to acquisition is private development.
Acquisition will preserve this riverfront space for public recreation in perpetuity and create a
view shed that will provide additional opportunities for development and redevelopment with
more overall value and density in the adjacent MonroeNorth area.Acquisition of this land supports existing plans
including the Parks & Recreation 2010 Master Plan which prioritizes development of the Grand River for re
creation (p. 82-83, 95), and the 2011 Green Grand Rapids amendment to the Master Plan which encourages
restoration of the river and development of parks and open space as models of sustainable design (p. 77-79).
CD06

 

This would permanently prevent this land from essentially ever being developed. Good idea? Bad idea?

 

16405228707_86748380ae_b.jpg

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Actually, what they should do is split off the first 75 or 100 feet West of Monroe for potential development. I'd bet they'd sell those smaller parcels in short order. Limit the height of any potential development to 50 or 60 feet to maintain values of the land on the East side of Monroe.

 

This would also help pay for the $2.5 Million in local matching funds they need.

 

16405606657_713d7368ac_b.jpg

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^
I was thinking the same thing; at least develop part of the site so there is a streetwall along Monroe.

 

What lots are owned by MSU? Are they likely to want to sell their property there?

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Agreed GRDad. I love the idea of making this an access point for the river but I think the street needs infill to make it feel like a contiguous area on bot sides of the expressway. Your idea would accomplish both.

Joe

Actually, what they should do is split off the first 75 or 100 feet West of Monroe for potential development. I'd bet they'd sell those smaller parcels in short order. Limit the height of any potential development to 50 or 60 feet to maintain values of the land on the East side of Monroe.

This would also help pay for the $2.5 Million in local matching funds they need.

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^

I was thinking the same thing; at least develop part of the site so there is a streetwall along Monroe.

 

What lots are owned by MSU? Are they likely to want to sell their property there?

 

MSU owns the one marked 533 (533 Monroe Ave NW) right in the middle. I would assume that the city has approached MSU about this before going to the public hearing process. MSU also owns 544 Monroe Ave across the street.

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Agreed GRDad. I love the idea of making this an access point for the river but I think the street needs infill to make it feel like a contiguous area on bot sides of the expressway. Your idea would accomplish both.

Joe

Actually, what they should do is split off the first 75 or 100 feet West of Monroe for potential development. I'd bet they'd sell those smaller parcels in short order. Limit the height of any potential development to 50 or 60 feet to maintain values of the land on the East side of Monroe.

This would also help pay for the $2.5 Million in local matching funds they need.

 

 

It wouldn't even have to be that whole stretch either. They could intersperse buildings with access points to the riverfront park; little plazas between the buildings open to the public. Each one would be about .3 or .4 acres, which they should be able to get close to a million for A and B and about a 1/2 mill for C (for instance). They'd have to structure it though that they split it before they officially put it in the park system. Otherwise, you need an act of congress to split a park parcel into developable land. 

 

The $2.5 Million in parcel sales covers the local match. I have to believe there are developers who'd be interested in those parcels, essentially on the river or overlooking this new flood mitigation/park area. Residential, office, retail.

 

(The green block to the right is MSU land for future expansion).

 

*I cc'd this version to the city

 

15994897593_ea49e1a4e2_b.jpg

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I also think it would imperative to have development fronting Monroe as that whole area from the highway to Trowbridge is almost 100% barren. Maybe with a gap where Trowbridge ends so that there is a view of the river all the way up to Ottawa.

 

Leaving it open just will cement the separation of N. Monroe from the rest of DT and make it harder to get people to naturally want to walk from one to the other.

 

I would also make most of the part facing the river more paved than park. This would be a real chance to create an authentic plaza space that can be reconfigured easily for different activities and events.

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I also think it would imperative to have development fronting Monroe as that whole area from the highway to Trowbridge is almost 100% barren. Maybe with a gap where Trowbridge ends so that there is a view of the river all the way up to Ottawa.

 

Leaving it open just will cement the separation of N. Monroe from the rest of DT and make it harder to get people to naturally want to walk from one to the other.

 

I would also make most of the part facing the river more paved than park. This would be a real chance to create an authentic plaza space that can be reconfigured easily for different activities and events.

 

I was thinking the same about Trowbridge. With a light at the intersection, it would provide a good place for pedestrians to move West coming from Icon, MSU, Brass Works, Monroe Terrace and any future developments on the East side of Monroe. Grab lunch at Jimmy Johns, walk down to the new bioswale flood mitigation area and see kayakers on the river. Who wouldn't want to live and work in that area?

 

OK, had to get my paint gun out. It would be nice to finally have some sort of street wall along that section. Who knows when MSU will look at building on their parcel. Might be 20 years.

 

16407750617_d874f961b4_b.jpg

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