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Grand River revitalization project undergoes design modifications

Grand River, downtown Grand Rapids
Grand Rapids WhiteWater
Grand River, downtown Grand Rapids

Construction on the project could begin in Summer 2024 after planning partners agreed on changes

In December, the Environmental Protection Agency filed a letter of objection with the City of Grand Rapids. At issue, wave features in the current river design developed by private project partner Grand Rapids Whitewater. Steve Heacock is president and CEO.

“It was a very progressive design really meant to create interest in the Grand River and Grand Rapids.”

In order to continue the project, the city withdrew the application with the intention of submitting a new one with a modified design.

“The river will naturally have waves within it and naturally have some movement. It will be turbulent; it will be interesting there will be the look and feel and sound of some rapids. It just won’t be these wave structures we’ve been touting now for a number of years. And so, you know, sure it’s a very different project that we’ll design and put forward in the next round.”

I asked Heacock if he’s disappointed?

“Oh, my. Yes. Certainly. And our board went through, you know, a level of that disappointment and also talked about will grand Rapids Whitewater continue with the project and decided unanimously after discussion that included the mayor (Rosalynn Bliss) and the City Manager (Mark Washington) that indeed we would. That there’s enough good here and it will improve the river enough and, in enough ways, to make the project worthy of the effort.”-

-Improving aquatic habitats and providing river access to projects adjacent to the Grand River.

Patrick joined WGVU Public Media in December, 2008 after eight years of investigative reporting at Grand Rapids' WOOD-TV8 and three years at WYTV News Channel 33 in Youngstown, Ohio. As News and Public Affairs Director, Patrick manages our daily radio news operation and public interest television programming. An award-winning reporter, Patrick has won multiple Michigan Associated Press Best Reporter/Anchor awards and is a three-time Academy of Television Arts & Sciences EMMY Award winner with 14 nominations.
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