Additional river restoration funds approved by DDA; Movies in the Park gets upgrade

Posted at 9:03 AM, Jan 20, 2017
and last updated 2017-01-20 16:43:01-05

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – The Grand Rapids Downtown Development Authority has unanimously approved $100,000 for the river restoration project.

The grassroots non-profit “Grand Rapids Whitewater” has been spearheading the effort to restore the Grand River through downtown for a decade now.

The whole project, which includes restoring the city’s namesake rapids, is expected to cost more than $30 million.  Last week, the project received roughly $5 million of an $8 million grant awarded to the Grand Valley Metro Council for river restoration and run off control.  That grant came from the 2013 federal Farm Act.  However, this new federal funding has a 5-year window to start construction in the river.

The restoration project is a major component of the GR Forward 10-year plan.  City and county funding for the project has not yet been determined.

The DDA also approved a 3-year deal with LiveSpace to install a LED screen for Movies in the Park, which takes place during the summer at Ah-Nab-Awen Park.  The movie series has proven successful and the change to having an LED screen instead of an inflatable screen with a projector will mean that movies can start earlier and more double features will be possible.  The addition of more films would bring an estimated 10,000 more people to the event.  Last summer, the popular outdoor movie series pumped more than $600,000 into the downtown economy, according to DGRI.