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


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From what I gather two of the three proposed River Grand developments will feature marinas that accesses the river, Faust is one and Moch is the other. Don't expect 100' yaults foating down the river. But if one of these developments is built we might see alot of fishing boats going up and down the river. This would be added to the existing river boat located on the stretch of the Grand along Johnson Park. I've ridden on that boat once before. Very relaxing. We also have many parks along the river as well. Speaking of which when Millennium Park is fully built out it will hug the river. So my conclusion is that the City has not turned its back on the river. But with a few improvements GR could have a big asset on its hands.

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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 Su

Money was set aside for a study by legislator Arlan Meekhof for his friend the developer without ever talking to any of the people along the river or any of the municipalities who would be responsible

A dredging project is much different than a dam removal/river restoration project. They are the polar opposite environmentally. One seeks to modify the river while the other seeks to remove the modifi

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Here's something you won't find anywhere else...

Back in the late 60's and early 70's there were no river parks, no Ford Museum, no river walk, no Amway Grand, no GVSU or much of anything else that focused on the river.

The service entrance of the Civic Auditorium faced the river. The back drive into the police department garage faced the river. Warehouses faced the river where GVSU is located. The river really was hidden and ignored.

A lady named Jerry Hazzard started a group called Urban Concerns, Inc. I believe they were somehow associated with Fountain street Church. This group was possibly the first that actually attempted to draw attention to the Grand River as an amenity.

They did a small publication to try to attract attention to the cause. Below are a few pages. Remember that at the time nobody could care less about the river. This was really cutting edge advocacy.

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Where on earth do you find this stuff? Does your office double as a small GR History museum?

Ouch! It didn't seem like "history" at the time. I guess I am getting older.

Actually I was involved with this effort to "save" the river and apparantly felt the experience worthy of saving the booklet.

You know, its probably not a bad idea to realize that one day the stuff you're involved in today may be interesting history. If you think it may have value later, save it.

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Like most cities, wasn't the Grand still filled with untreated wastewater and runoff? If you consider it was primarily used as basically an sewer, understandable why the city would turn its back to it.

I'd turn my back if I was next to something that smelled like poo.

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Like most cities, wasn't the Grand still filled with untreated wastewater and runoff? If you consider it was primarily used as basically an sewer, understandable why the city would turn its back to it.

I'd turn my back if I was next to something that smelled like poo.

Exactly. But we've always sent our poo floating to Grand Haven. Its that Lansing poo that stinks. :rofl:

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...They did a small publication to try to attract attention to the cause. Below are a few pages. Remember that at the time nobody could care less about the river. This was really cutting edge advocacy.

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Great post Civitas.

I've gotta say I was hooked fromt he first slide. That was so creative. I know it was supposed to serve an entirely different purpose than "keep it a secret", but it did a better job of getting and keeping my attention for far less money.

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We need to think of a better way. Also, where do we put these boutiques and shops? We can't move the convention center, Grand Plaza, Marriott, Forslund, Art, Steelcase, and Plaza Towers; these properties nearly sit directly on the river.

I actually have come up with plans (in my head) for such. The first step would be to demolish and relocate the post office.. possibly into a newer building where the GR Press Building is now. (Not sure if there's enough space there for it though.) There's a whole section of riverwalk wedged between the post office building and the river... seems to be a very popular spot for fishing. To handle retail along the walk, it would have to be extended inland some, enough to increase the width of the walk by about 2.5 times. That whole stretch could be lined with 3-4 storey buildings all built up against eachother, with breaks between the buildings every 4 or 5 shops. Walkways will run through these breaks towards buildings behind them as I will detail later. The upper floors of each of the buildings will feature penthouse condominiums, so people may live, work, shop, and be entertained all along the walk. Behind these buildings will be an office complex housing the City Hall, GR Press, and any other interests. The City Hall would sit in two buildings really, with public information and services in a small building reminiscent of the old city hall, placed right on the corner of Monroe and Bridge. Behind it, and connected to it, will be a modest mid/high rise glass building, with a sort of waving shape taking up the rest of the space unused by the rest of the complex. A Parking garage will take up the first 2 floors, all behind the glass facade of the building. The glass would be similar in nature to that of the National City building, so that from the southeast it will reflect the city's skyline and the city hall, and from across the river on the west it will reflect the river, with curving shape of the building representing the river itself. The said walkways leading back to the complex from the riverwalk will access the parking garage and the glass building, with small grass courtyards hidden amongst trees in the spaces between the buildings and the glass buildings. Small locally-made sculptures can reside in each of the small courtyards, with a sidewalk running around the building and near the courtyards. Thus this design can cater to many kinds of people: People who want to enjoy the river can eat and shop on the river, while those who want privacy and peace can shop along the river, and then go into the small courtyards and relax.

Although I would imagine this is likely a driving idea behind at least one of the river grand proposals, and if it were so, having two such setups on both ends of downtown may be too much until further into the future.

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Civitas, I am going to assume you are a part-time archivist, or otherwise you missed your calling. The historian in me is praying you have all of your info stored digitally too. Great stuff.

In college I was called an anarchist, but I've never been called an archivist. I just can't throw anything away (maybe that's what an archivist is).

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I hope the developers wanting to get something going along the Grand take a good look at the San Antonio riverwalk and model their plans in a similar way. Not necessarily for boat traffic but bringing people downtown traffic.

The RiverWalk in San Antonio has tons of cool nightclubs, funky little retail stores, ice cream shops, etc...it could be a huge tourist draw and a great time for those of us who already live in GR.

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I just can't throw anything away (maybe that's what an archivist is).

I thought those people were called pack-rats :P

I agree Beavis that the riverwalk is way cool. The only thing I dont like about it is that the water is pretty gross looking. The other thing I wonder is how one would make that relatively unaffected by floods. The Grand fluctuates quite a bit, and I wonder how you could prevent a small riverwalk from flooding everything. Anyone know the answer to that?

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Wow, do a google search on his name. That Chicago project of his will be really cool, I'd travel to Chicago to see that. And his other stuff... amazing. I agree one of his bridges right there would really be awesome. Not only would it bring a lot more focus onto the river, it could also serve as a bit of a centrepiece to downtown.

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I thought those people were called pack-rats :P

I agree Beavis that the riverwalk is way cool. The only thing I dont like about it is that the water is pretty gross looking. The other thing I wonder is how one would make that relatively unaffected by floods. The Grand fluctuates quite a bit, and I wonder how you could prevent a small riverwalk from flooding everything. Anyone know the answer to that?

A giant dam would control the grand..... but thats a whole other cup of tea

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I wouldn't replace the Gillette Bridge. It a classic. Combined with Bridge St./Pearl/Fulton, it's a very repetitive image that looks really cool at night.

But Calatrava... I heard he's booked 5 years out. But we can certainly dream.

Dallas isn't very pleased with him...

"...concerning the Calatrava Bridge cost overrun that turned a $57 million project into a $113 million wuh-oh."

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Celebrity architects and artists have a knack for going over-budget, especially with large, challenging projects and most especially the ones that require new engineering methods.

And everybody complains--public officials, taxpayers, armchair city planners--that is, until the finished product brings in millions of tourists and all of their money.

I'm just saying, you hire a name for a reason.

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