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PBJ

The River

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So mikey and i (twoshort for most of you) were in San Antonio visiting family for the holidays this past weekend. We went down to the river walk one night, and it was awesome. There were shops, and a TON of resturaunts along the pathway along with parks and other stuff to see. I know we've sort of discussed this around here so I thought I'd bring it up. I know we have a "Path" along the river, but why not something more? We have hardly anything interesting to see/do while walking near the river on either side. The one in San Antonio looked to be diverted from the main river and flows through parts of the downtown area.

More information including history is avail. HERE although the website is kinda cheesy.

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Cheesy indeed. But what about a river transportation system? You could take a river ferry from the suburbs to downtown. Oh wait, bridges and low water level, nevermind.

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Cheesy indeed. But what about a river transportation system? You could take a river ferry from the suburbs to downtown. Oh wait, bridges and low water level, nevermind.

Yeah, plus the whole multiple dam thing :D

The part of the riverwalk we were on looked like they created it as an offshoot of the main river (judging by the map). It's basically a large horse shoe that starts up river and ends way down river. I know they close it off and drain it every year to clean it out. They have a whole weekend "Mud Festival" around it

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Most all of Michigan cities rivers could be better utilized. But, let us not forget that San Antonio's "river" is a really nothing more than a tiny stream, making it much easier to concentrate a business district on.

I know that in the spring of next year, a Lansing company has been created to ferry people (once again) around central Lansing on the Grand with the barries being the dam at Moores Park to the south, and Old Town to the north. Grand Rapids could definitely utilize it's river in this way if it has two connecting points that would warrant trips.

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It would have been interesting to see the River before it was fill'd in. If some of you remember from history class, (we studied local history, it was required.) The Grand River was originally horseshoed inland and left a nice size island near what is Pearl and down to almost Fulton.

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Actually, the river North of downtown (above the dam) is very usable for boating, and is wide enough in some areas to even do some water-skiing. You can also take it all the way to at least Ada and beyond in a small powerboat. The party store where I shop ;) at Plainfield and Northland Drive has an old codger behind the counter who always talks about fishing the Grand up in "them parts".

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Judging by the river's characteristics, yearly water level, damns, blah... That would really hamper on a ferry in Downtown, besides the river downtown is sometimes heavily utilized by anglars through spring to nearly the start of winter.

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Most all of Michigan cities rivers could be better utilized. But, let us not forget that San Antonio's "river" is a really nothing more than a tiny stream, making it much easier to concentrate a business district on.

I think the "River walk" part was carved out and the river diverted into the canal. At least looking at the map, it doesn't look like the river naturally flowed where the walk now is..

Here's a basic map in small detail

mainmap2.gif

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The party store where I shop ;) at Plainfield and Northland Drive has an old codger behind the counter who always talks about fishing the Grand up in "them parts".

Two J's :thumbsup:

Nitro

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Two J's :thumbsup:

Nitro

Yes!!! :lol: I think that guy owns the place. He's funny.

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Yes!!! :lol: I think that guy owns the place. He's funny.

we always get to the booze talk :alc:

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Here's a basic map in small detail

Where the heck was that map last weekend!? Here's a bigger version:

map6.gif

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Way cool! Only 3 parking decks in the whole scheme :thumbsup:

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This makes me want to create a cartoon map of dowtown.

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The Grand River front has been an area that has received second rate attention to other projects within the city; the medical boom, GRAM, and who can forget all of those condos. Having also been to San Antonio and getting to experience the boardwalk I came away thinking that this was exactly the type of thing that the city of Grand Rapids needs in order to really start becoming a 'cool city.' Obviously though the Grand River is a bit wider than the one in San Antonio but never the less there are other cities with bigger rivers and waterfronts who have been able to develop them extraordinarily well.

The city has a good start with the DeVos place, the Amway Grand, and the new Marriott. They need to use these great icons and build around them an entire community of pedestrian friendly commerce. They key would be having the right design and of course the right shops/restaurants/bars. We know that Grand Rapids and the surrounding area has the amount of people to support this kind of project. All those people who are going to be living in those condos have to have somewhere to go. Further improvements must be made in transportation and land usage around the river for it to have any sort of realistic chance. This board is the perfect place to begin brainstorming some ideas.

I am actually rather surprised that the City of Grand Rapids has never established a specific committee or council whose primary objective was to exclusively plan for the development and conservation of the Grand River and its banks. I have seen this in other cities. A great example of this is in Cincinnati, OH granted the Ohio River is a lot wider and more condusive to traveling but this area has been focused on by the city for revival and development over the past 40 years. The fruits of their labor are really beginning to show and are rather exciting.

Here is a link to their website: http://www.cincinnatiport.org/pa_pg5A.html

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Way cool! Only 3 parking decks in the whole scheme :thumbsup:

Yeah, and those trees... there are TONS of trees and parks EVERYWHERE.. even along the RiverWalk, which on the map doesn't look like theres many, almost had a forrest feel to it.

Reading the history of it, it appears that back in the 50's (I think that's when) the people who designed Disney World did an evaluation and recommendation to the city for developing the river. It went so far as to construct basements in the builidngs lining the river and occupy them with shopping and resturaunts/cafe's. Walking along there last weekend, i'd say they took the recommendations. It was way cool. They even have boat tours on the river and food cruises.

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Having derived its image in the Grand River, I would hope someone has taken notice of the qualities the Grand River can give to the city. Has the City taken enough time to develop a plan for the river or is just one of thoes things that were shelved? People comming to Grand Rapids will expect to see a Grand River. The river looks as if it was put there by the folks that built the buildings in downtown. I'd like to see that the west banks truley are natural banks, not some channeled wall, or crumbled concrete. I do realize that channeled part of the river is there for a reason. A build up of tall buildings along the east side of the river is a favorite of mine. It kind of creates a contrast with the natural environment with the built environment and the river flowing right through it all gives you a sense of symbolism.

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