Architecture & Design, Banking & Finance, and Construction

Whitewater agreement has first amendment

Resolution provides clarity on city’s financial commitment over next five fiscal years.

November 15, 2019
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The agreement between the city of Grand Rapids and Grand Rapids Whitewater for the Grand River restoration project has its first amendment.

The city commission last week approved a resolution to provide clarity on the city’s financial commitment to the project — $2 million in capital investments over the next five fiscal years — and reflect current conditions. The amendment also allows the city to hire third-party consultants as needed to facilitate the completion of key components of the project. The changes earlier were approved by GRWW.

The original agreement, approved in April, established a working partnership between the city and GRWW for the purpose of delivering the river restoration project envisioned by GRWW in collaboration with many public and private partners.

The city commission also approved an amendment to the agreement between the city, GRWW, the Great Lakes Fishery Commission and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for an adjustable hydraulic structure as part of the river restoration project. The agreement was first established in May.

According to previous Business Journal reports, the adjustable hydraulic structure is intended to serve as a buffer against sea lampreys, which are an invasive species hostile to Great Lakes fish. Currently, the Sixth Street Dam provides protection from the predator, but the dam must be removed, and the hydraulic structure is expected to be more efficient in controlling the lampreys and require less maintenance.

The amendment firstly clarifies responsibility for the design, permitting and development of in-river recreation features in the upper reach of the river project from Bridge Street to Ann Street.

The amendment also requires a joint permit application to be submitted that includes the in-river recreation features and the adjustable hydraulic structure; defines responsibility for financing and construction of the in-river feature; and includes other technical amendments based on joint learning by the partners.

South Division plan

In other business, the city commission also adopted the South Division Corridor Plan as an amendment to the city’s 2002 Master Plan.

The plan focuses on South Division Avenue from Wealthy Street to 28th Street, between Buchanan and Madison avenues, and intends development to focus particularly on helping the area’s low- and middle-income residents, according to previous Business Journal reports.

The South Division Corridor planning process has been underway since March 2017 and was led by an advisory group consisting of residents, business owners and other stakeholders. The plan identified five major principles in alignment with the city’s own master plan: community identity, development without displacement, economic opportunity, public health and transportation.

Improvement of The Rapid’s Silver Line bus route has been one focal point of the plan. Although the city invested in the rapid transit service several years ago, recent Business Journal reporting stated the investment has not spurred growth in the South Division Corridor. The potential for improving mobility and connectivity also includes improving infrastructure around bicycling, walking and driving.

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