Potential development of a riverfront park clears another hurdle

Posted at 10:30 PM, Mar 08, 2018
and last updated 2018-03-08 22:30:27-05

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. —  The Kent County Board of Commissioners has approved the sale of some downtown properties as part of a proposal to develop a downtown, riverfront park. The Grand Rapids Planning Commission will take up the matter next week.

The county Board of Commissioners voted Thursday to sell four properties on Monroe Avenue NW – just north of I-196 – and to purchase a property on Ottawa Avenue NW, according to a county news release. It says the move would be part of a three-way public partnership in which the City of Grand Rapids would develop the riverfront park, and Michigan State University would expand the innovation park.

The county says three riverfront lots at 511, 519 and 525 Monroe Avenue NW (totaling 1.285 acres) are being purchased by the City of Grand Rapids for $3.3 million, with funding from the Michigan Department of Natural Resources TrustFund. The Trust Fund had awarded the city a grant in 2016 for 75 percent of the purchase price for nearly four acres of riverfront property. The county parcels are part of that package. The county says the remaining 25 percent will be paid by the city. The project also includes 2.4 acres owned by Michigan State University and the city.

The deal also entails the county selling parcels across from the riverfront properties, at 520 Monroe Avenue NW, for $1.65 million, per the news release. The property is being used right now as a parking lot by the county. Kent County will purchase city-owned property at 601 and 617 Ottawa Ave NW for $1.33 million. The
county says it will develop those parcels for employee parking to replace the 520 Monroe parking lot, with the idea being to make the site available for public parking after-hours and on weekends.

Says Jim Saalfeld, Chair of the Board of Commissioners, in a written statement: “This is more than a property sale; it is an investment in the future of Kent County.”