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

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IF the Grand River could be made accessible to kayakers, etc., would people feel comfortable being submerged in its waters? I have always thought that it would be great on a hot summer day to go tubing or canoing down the river...right through downtown. However, I would never want to swim through garbage, contaminants, and long seaweed. I have seen crew teams competing on the river at Riverside Park, and fisherman feel comfortable enough to wade, but neither have much contact with the water itself. It's not the East River, but it's not the Thornapple either.

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It's already very narrowed from what it originally was, and rapids are a feature of shallow rivers.

Is that the case? I know here in Lansing that the river was much narrower than it originally was, and the dams actually slowed and increased the size of the river. I'd imagine it can't be different down stream that the Grand River through Grand Rapids is actually wider and slower moving than it was, naturally.

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The thing is though, the narrower you make the river, the deeper it gets. It's already very narrowed from what it originally was, and rapids are a feature of shallow rivers.

Get bigger boulders?

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The downtown stretch of the river between I-196 and Fulton Street is only knee deep. I've seen fisherman wading in the river. Last year I've even seen fisherman setup fold-up tables in the river beside them so they can immediately process the fish upon capture. So I don't think the river being too deep would be much of an issue.

Edited by tamias6

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I'd like both actually! :) Something like Waterfire is very high on my list. Between Bridge St. and Pearl or Pearl and Fulton would be a perfect spot for it.

Actually, between Bridge and Pearl would be the best spot. With Ahnabawen park on one side, the Convention Center promenade, the riverwalk, etc. It would be perfect for nightly crowds.

Joe

Or instead of spending all that money, draw tourists to the riverfront with something similar to what is done in Providence, RI: Wterfire.

It is spectacular and draws huge crowds!

waterfire

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rapids are a feature of shallow rivers.

In the case of the river downtown, the rapids are due to the river bottom being at bedrock in this location. The river bottom upstream and downstream is sand / gravel.

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IF the Grand River could be made accessible to kayakers, etc., would people feel comfortable being submerged in its waters? I have always thought that it would be great on a hot summer day to go tubing or canoing down the river...right through downtown. However, I would never want to swim through garbage, contaminants, and long seaweed. I have seen crew teams competing on the river at Riverside Park, and fisherman feel comfortable enough to wade, but neither have much contact with the water itself. It's not the East River, but it's not the Thornapple either.

Much of the reluctance for body contact is perception. The river is much cleaner than 30 years ago. Back then the cities only did primary sewage treatment (screen out the big chunks ;). Now days they do secondary treatment and disinfection. Plus most of the combined sewers are separated. The only sewage overflows are infrequent and are very diluted. The river doesn't have much "long sea weed", the bottom is sand / gravel for the most part. The river isn't and will never be Lake Michigan clear due to the sediment load. The bottom is continually down cutting (natural occurance, sorry folks, God is doing it not man) so there is always "suspended dirt particles" in the water. It would be interesting to have the health dept do water testing on the Grand at North Park, downtown & Johnson Park. I will bet it is cleaner than the Ottawa County beaches closed due to water quality issues. (Think about swimming in a backyard pool after an afternoon of use by a group of little (and big ;) kids)

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Is that the case? I know here in Lansing that the river was much narrower than it originally was, and the dams actually slowed and increased the size of the river. I'd imagine it can't be different down stream that the Grand River through Grand Rapids is actually wider and slower moving than it was, naturally.

There was slight land reclamation South of Pearl St. who knows how long ago. Old maps somewhere in another thread show the east bank of the river running right down what is now Campau. There were a few islands (probably more along the lines of sand bars or slabs of rock above normal water line) in the river in this stretch, too. The JW, Tower portion of the Amway, and probably the Crowe building all stand atop what was once river. Going completely off memory and estimation of memory from the map, I'd also say the Plaza Towers would be sitting right up against the shore line.

So with that said, I would imagine the river was, at one time, shallower, but maybe there was higher water flow in that time period too, so who knows.

If a one-lane street with wide sidewalks and parallel parking were to be added along the river, perhaps a good portion of it could be cantilevered over the river to reduce the impact on the river itself.. but that would only drive the costs even higher, I'd imagine.

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Didn't WLAV used to do some sort of fun river raft race on the Grand until some dude biffed it falling overboard (drunk? - not to impune anyone's character) and then sued because he was paralyzed? And didn't that really put the fear into anyone thinking of organizing anything fun on the river for years afterward? Other cities with rivers do things like raft races, rubber duck charity deals, etc. If more were done that involved fun on/in the river, more attention would be paid to the river and people would get more involved with keeping it clean and feeling a sense of ownership. As it is, it is more or less a pretty streak of water that you see from the highway overpass or between buildings, etc.

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Didn't WLAV used to do some sort of fun river raft race on the Grand until some dude biffed it falling overboard (drunk? - not to impune anyone's character) and then sued because he was paralyzed? And didn't that really put the fear into anyone thinking of organizing anything fun on the river for years afterward? Other cities with rivers do things like raft races, rubber duck charity deals, etc. If more were done that involved fun on/in the river, more attention would be paid to the river and people would get more involved with keeping it clean and feeling a sense of ownership. As it is, it is more or less a pretty streak of water that you see from the highway overpass or between buildings, etc.

I searched online and couldn't find anything about a lawsuit. Maybe it was before the internets? :dontknow:

Seriously, WMEAC has a river cleanup project every Fall, and they always need volunteers. You DO NOT have to be a tree-hugger either (ICYWW). Also, there are a ton of walk-a-thons along the riverfront every year. We participate in one every Fall, and there is always another one going on the same weekend. I think downtown, and the river specifically, is JUST starting to shake its bad perception and being looked at as the "epicenter of fun" for West Michigan.

BTW: Anyone know what contractors were doing with a big pile of large boulders and giant beams near the riverbank by the Indian Mounds and Spirit of Solidarity fountain?

Also, I snapped this today while photographing the Marriott sign being installed. Talk about shallow (it's always like that this time of year):

780091212_1b67c7ea28_b.jpg

779461129_cc5a86f4b0_b.jpg

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Didn't WLAV used to do some sort of fun river raft race on the Grand until some dude biffed it falling overboard (drunk? - not to impune anyone's character) and then sued because he was paralyzed? And didn't that really put the fear into anyone thinking of organizing anything fun on the river for years afterward? Other cities with rivers do things like raft races, rubber duck charity deals, etc. If more were done that involved fun on/in the river, more attention would be paid to the river and people would get more involved with keeping it clean and feeling a sense of ownership. As it is, it is more or less a pretty streak of water that you see from the highway overpass or between buildings, etc.

Yeah, back in the 70s, there was a River Raft race on the Grand that ran around Riverside Park. I think that it was sponsored by WLAV. I recall that a colleague's wife was part of a "Mary Free Bed" raft (she was a nurse there, I think) and the number of drunk guys who decided a "free bed" was an invitation, not part of a hospital's name, made it very unpleasant for her.

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These are from last week. ;)

Here is where they were putting the boulders (from my earlier post), as part of the repairs to the Westbank riverwalk between Pearl and the blue ped bridge. I didn't notice today if they go all the way down to the ped bridge (?)

897999198_02feec21b8_b.jpg

Repairs and upgrades underway to the Eastbank riverwalk between Pearl and the blue ped bridge:

897999164_b3a5da322b_b.jpg

By my estimation, these areas have been upgraded and repaired in the past couple of years:

Westbank near Eberhard Center

Westbank from blue ped bridge to Pearl (near the musuem)

Eastbank in front of the convention center (they are also repairing pavers and walkways around the AGP right now)

Eastbank from Pearl to the blue ped bridge

Eastbank near Canal Street Park

The only areas left in the downtown area would be

- Westbank around the Ford Museum from Pearl to Bridge (in really bad shape)

- Westbank from Bridge to the fish ladder near Bridgewater (kind of grimy under the highway overpasses)

- Westbank from fishladder to 6th Street bridge (which will probably be repaired/replaced when/if the new office project goes in)

- Eastbank from Fulton to 131 (on the DDA's docket)

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More riverwalk repair goodness:

AGP section. These planters are the ones I asked about a few months ago that are being repaired and re-landscaped:

931785242_1285a9b78f_b.jpg

931824070_d0f943a3e8_b.jpg

A closeup:

931824120_1682022828_b.jpg

The section in front of the Marriott appeared to be open again, so away we went:

931824420_0ae0e507e3_b.jpg

931824638_7cb42d18b9.jpg

Just waiting:

931824736_e317f5356e_b.jpg

Nice chrome:

931824754_2cf264b306_b.jpg

In front of the Riverfront Bldg:

931876354_f84c93049b.jpg

Haven't seen this view in a couple of years I think:

931876572_deadf6c1dd.jpg

Singer sculpture:

931876646_8a26fa8b4f.jpg

Looking back North:

931876690_3f38938743_b.jpg

Last leg up to the ped bridge (gates are still locked at the top though :( , had to climb over)

931876740_fad9e83eda_b.jpg

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OMG! Apparently WOODTV has just now discovered that the riverwalk is closed much of the winter due to high water levels:

http://www.woodtv.com/Global/story.asp?S=7...mp;nav=menu44_2

It will be interesting to see what else people notice as they "rediscover" downtown.

But I did notice the other day that the city got brand spanking new signs that explain why the riverwalk is closed, and to "come back and visit the beautiful riverwalk in the warmer months" or something similar. Much better than the KEEP OUT signs there before. I'll have to get a picture.

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OMG! Apparently WOODTV has just now discovered that the riverwalk is closed much of the winter due to high water levels:

http://www.woodtv.com/Global/story.asp?S=7...mp;nav=menu44_2

It will be interesting to see what else people notice as they "rediscover" downtown.

But I did notice the other day that the city got brand spanking new signs that explain why the riverwalk is closed, and to "come back and visit the beautiful riverwalk in the warmer months" or something similar. Much better than the KEEP OUT signs there before. I'll have to get a picture.

I love how the reporter asks if the city is "aware of any plans to 'revamp' the riverwalk so the river doesn't overun over the boardwalk?"

Ummm...suuuure...and then we'll get to filling in that annoying gigantic hole out in Arizona so people don't have to take a mule down to the bottom of the canyon.

I just can't stand television media...they love listening to themselves ask the questions more than understanding what they just asked.

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I love how the reporter asks if the city is "aware of any plans to 'revamp' the riverwalk so the river doesn't overun over the boardwalk?"

Ummm...suuuure...and then we'll get to filling in that annoying gigantic hole out in Arizona so people don't have to take a mule down to the bottom of the canyon.

I just can't stand television media...they love listening to themselves ask the questions more than understanding what they just asked.

Right. :)"Uh, we talked to God about the river rising and falling like that, but he says his hands are tied"

Here are the new signs:

2229031886_9bc479da03.jpg

And the water levels:

2229031064_c7bc2590eb_b.jpg

The upper portions are open, as well as the riverwalk on the West bank. Just not the boardwalks right at the river level.

The ice is massing up:

2228239695_7e5b9fd1f7_b.jpg

This ice is not in motion (jammed up):

2229029374_f8cace7e5e_b.jpg

2229029952_e3b91cf462_b.jpg

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Well I see GRDad already posted this, but I do have to ask when does spring start in Michigan?

2467855009_3095a5c9ef_b.jpg

This picture was taken yesterday when I was walking by Devos Place.

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