According to an analysis by Anderson Economic Group, new recreation activity alone is projected to generate approximately $15.9 to $19 million annually in new economic activity (i.e. visitor spending, new workforce earnings). This level of economic impact is on par with other communities that have completed similar river projects (e.g. South Bend, Indiana; Wausau, Wisconsin; Denver, Colorado). An estimated 50 jobs will be created around the outdoor recreation services of fishing and whitewater guides, equipment rentals and sales, boating instruction and lessons, operations and maintenance, and environmental services and education. Indirect support services are estimated to create another 96 jobs.
In a report done in 2014 by the Anderson Economic Group, it is estimated that the GRWW project will generate between 232,400 and 538,300 net new visitor days for the City of Grand Rapids each year. They estimate that about 67,200 to 137,900 of the total net new visitor days will be generated by overnight visitors, in the City of Grand Rapids. Overnight visitors tend to spend more, on average, than day visitors.
Beyond the economic activity generated from recreation, the Grand River Revitalization Project will be the catalyst for additional private and public sector investment in shoreline and riverbank development activity identified in the GR Forward plan. Anticipating the project’s completion, property is already being purchased along the river. In fact, the Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund recommended approval of a $7.5 million grant to the City of Grand Rapids in 2015 to purchase three riverfront parcels along Monroe Avenue in downtown Grand Rapids for recreational use.