“We will succeed in making our most important natural feature – the Grand River—increasingly visible and usable by converting older riverfront industrial sites to parks and new development that welcome people to the river’s edge. We will recreate the rapids in the river as a reminder of our heritage.”
Green Grand Rapids, City Master Plan (2012)
West Michigan has a unique opportunity to capitalize on a one-of-a-kind natural resource to transform the Region into a destination for families and outdoor enthusiasts to not just visit but to live, work, and play. It should be noted that the conditions needed to create and restore rapids on par with this project are extremely rare in an urban setting. The natural elevation change of the Grand River through the project area is only found in a handful of cities in the world. A treasure lies underfoot.
The Grand River Restoration Project will benefit the residents and businesses in Grand Rapids. The benefits can be categorized into three categories:
- Environmental: Restoring, providing, and maintaining the natural land and water as a habitat for native wildlife
- Social & Cultural: Restoring the City’s namesake and the community’s natural heritage
- Economic: Generate revenue similar to other river restoration projects and create jobs directly and indirectly