Economic Development and Real Estate

DDA approves spending for Lyons Edge project

Agency to pay $370,000 for improvements that include replacing the existing stepped amphitheater with more green space.

June 16, 2017
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Lyons Edge
The Lyons Edge project will create an in-river docking system and an earthen berm to improve flood protection. Rendering courtesy Bishop Land Design

A $4-million improvement project to Lyons Edge continues to inch along.

The Downtown Development Authority last week unanimously approved spending $370,000 to pay Massachusetts-based Bishop Land Design and consultant River Restoration Organization to complete the design development phase of the project. The full cost of completion is $430,000, with the Grand Rapids City Commission slated to vote on footing the remaining $60,000 at its July 11 meeting.

BLD principal and design lead Scott Bishop and city engineer Mark De Clercq were on hand to present on the details of the project and answer questions from the DDA.

The Lyons Edge improvements include replacing the existing stepped amphitheater with more green space and a tiered pathway that juts out over the water and provides access to the Grand River. Additionally, the project will create an in-river docking system and an earthen berm to improve flood protection within the park site.

The design process began about six months ago, with the DDA retaining BLD to draw up schematic design renderings of a larger project that includes the reconstruction of the entire Lyon Street right of way from Monroe Avenue to the river — but for now, the focus is being placed on the park and river’s edge portions of the project.

Downtown Grand Rapids Inc. President and CEO Kris Larson said the organization has been working with a number of various adjacent stakeholders in the project, including Amway Hotel Corporation, SMG, the Convention and Arena Authority, Windquest Group and philanthropist Peter Secchia to refine the initial design concept that came out of the GR Forward plan.

Larson said it will be some time before the activation of space in between existing structures can be fully realized, as various capital projects have to be completed first. As Larson pointed out, Lyon Square serves as a “terminus” for loading operations at the DeVos Place Convention Center and Amway Hotel.

“We have to think about how that space can not only advance the community vision of GR Forward, but also how it can help to manage some of the operational needs that those adjacent stakeholders have,” Larson said.

With the design process moving from schematic design to design development, the city will assume responsibility of the contract with BLD from DGRI and the DDA if approved at the July 11 city commission meeting.

In addition to the contract with BLD, $31,140 is to be allocated to Grand Rapids Whitewater consultant River Restoration Organization, which will perform a river hydraulic analysis and design development of the in-river features of the Lyons Edge project to facilitate GRWW’s permit application to the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality.

While construction of the project still is a ways off, Larson said it was important to move onto the design development phase to further refine the project’s scope and size in line with the needs of the adjacent stakeholders.

“Part of this goal is to get this phase done, so once we have more clarity on (Amway’s plans), we can move into engagement and effect that ideal coordination,” Larson said.

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