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The Ripple Effect (Headline)

It’s High Time

Grand Rapids profited from the booming logging industry following the Civil War, and the timber flowing down the river helped establish “Furniture City” in the late 1800s. Damming the river helped make Grand Rapids a thriving city then but the time has come for a riverfront engineered to serve the present-day needs of all Grand Rapidians. That’s why it’s been our goal to bring economic, environmental and cultural excitement back to the waterway.

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The Businessof Leisure

Today, residents and visitors alike flock to downtown attractions on both sides of the Grand River. It makes smart economic sense to make the riverfront a central gathering place for everyone. 

Welcoming local residents and far-away travelers adds up: the economic growth that would accompany this re-energized waterfront is remarkable. The Anderson Economic Group projects 230,000 net new visitor days and more than 500,000 people each year, a boon that translates up to almost $19 million in net economic impact for the city and 80-100 new jobs. In addition, $250+ million in capital investments are anticipated within 10 years of project completion.

Make a Splash

Restoring the rapids and renovating the surrounding area will improve the quality of life for all who live in or near the downtown area. Whitewater and adventure sports originally gave our project its name, but thousands of residents will enjoy the new waterfront even if they never get into a canoe or raft.

Wading and splashing in the shallows; lounging and picnicking in the adjacent parks; walking, running or cycling on designated paths — these are simple, healthy, family-friendly pleasures that would be immediately available to everyone. All of this right in downtown Grand Rapids; few cities can boast such attractive amenities.

Grow withthe Flow

Two-legged thrill-seekers and the businesses that serve them won’t be the only ones to benefit from a revitalized rapids. Fish and other living things in the river will thrive after decades of marginalization, and the river itself will be healthier for it. 

When the Sixth Street Dam is removed, lake sturgeon will regain access to the bedrock beneath, which is their historic spawning ground. The 27 species of mussels (nine state-threatened and one federally-endangered) that have been discovered in the project area will find their habitat much improved, while invasive sea lamprey will be thwarted from upstream migration. River water, richer in oxygen thanks to the turbulent rapids, will see increased microbial activity that will keep it cleaner and more hospitable to all.