Promenade On To-Do List, Again

July 13, 2008
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GRAND RAPIDS — Last year, Downtown Development Director Jay Fowler said a key location on Monroe Avenue needed a lot of work.

“Louis Campau Promenade has been kind of a mess for a long time,” he said a year ago.

Last week, Fowler proved that he hadn’t changed his mind about the walkway’s condition over the past 12 months.

“The promenade this summer looks even more in need of work,” he said a week ago.

The DDA planned to reconstruct the promenade last summer, but a wealth of ongoing nearby construction projects, such as the JW Marriott Hotel, the Grand Rapids Art Museum and the rebuilding of Louis Campau Street from Monroe to Ottawa avenues, put the promenade work on hold.

But Fowler said he expects the construction bids for the promenade to be in this month, and for the DDA to select a contractor at the board’s August meeting. He wants the work to start by September and the bulk of it to be finished by the end of this year, with only the landscaping held for next spring.

The Grand Rapids-office of Kalamazoo-based architect O’Boyle, Cowell, Blalock & Associates designed the project last year, which calls for new planters, benches, ornamental lighting, and thinner and longer-lasting brick pavers placed over a concrete base. A new snowmelt system would also be installed, and a space fronting Monroe Avenue could be reserved for an art piece.

Last year’s cost estimate for the work totaled $475,000, with a snowmelt system costing another $157,000. The DDA has set aside $800,000 for the promenade work in its current budget.

The promenade opened as a public space and a pedestrian walkway in 1985. It is situated across Monroe Avenue from Rosa Parks Circle and runs westerly to Campau Avenue.

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