Putting the 'Rapids' Back in Grand Rapids

After more than a century of altering the flow of the Grand River, Grand Rapids' namesake whitewater has been largely eliminated. A new proposal backed by Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder would "put the rapids back in Grand Rapids."

Jim Lynch reports on the $27.5 million plan to restore the Grand River as a recreational and tourist attraction, and catalyst for economic development. Following the lead of cities such as South Bend, Ind., whose East Race Waterway has generated $78 million in economic development on an investment of $5 million, citizens groups and city officials in Grand Rapids are counting on state and federal grants and private donations to fund the project.

"Not everyone is on board with the plan," however, says Lynch. "Some fishermen worry that removing or lowering the Sixth Street Dam just north of downtown will take away a popular year-round angling spot, and canoers and kayakers are cautious about potential changes to their favorite spots on the river."

"After years of work and millions of dollars spent separating the city's sewer and water lines, the Grand River is healthier than it has been in decades, officials said, and ready for its close-up."

"Several environmental impact studies are still in the offing before the city can begin applying for state permits. But physical work on the river could get started within the next three to five years."

"We have to invest in our community to continue to have growth and development occur and attract the best and brightest to our city," said Suzanne Schulz, director of the city's planning department, who believes the potential economic impact could "be somewhere in the hundreds of millions of dollars."

Full Story: Grand Rapids looks to restore river to natural state

Comments

building block set

NEW! Build the world you want to see

Irresistible block set for adults when placed on a coffee table or desk, and great fun for kids.
$25
Red necktie with map of Boston

For dads and grads: tie one on to celebrate your city!

Choose from over 20 styles imprinted with detailed city or transit maps.
$44.95
T-shirt with map of Chicago

Show your city pride

Men's Ultrasoft CityFabric© tees. Six cities available.
$23.00

City Coasters

Hand-drawn engraved maps of your favorite neighborhoods are divided up across 4 coasters making each one unique.
$36.00