A look at 5 West Michigan projects getting funding from new infrastructure plan

GR River 3.jpg
Posted at 9:44 PM, Mar 27, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-27 22:11:19-04

LANSING, Mich. — With money to expand broadband connectivity, fix crumbling roads and improve drinking water, the whole state will benefit from a lot of what’s included in the $4.8 billion bipartisan spending plan now heading to Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s desk.

“Transformative,” is how folks on both sides of the aisle are describing the bill. “We believe that this short term, or one time investment that we can make now will lay a foundation for a really sharp future across Michigan,” Lt. Governor Garlin Gilchrist said in an interview last week.

In West Michigan, more than a handful of specifically earmarked projects are set to get funding.

$45 million will go to fully funding the replacement of lead service lines in Benton Harbor and allow the city to make other improvements to their water infrastructure.

Benton Harbor Water Pipe Reeplacement

$15 million will go towards PFAS remediation at an "orphaned' site near Muskegon Lake.

“Every community I represent along the lakeshore has mentioned the importance of clean water, and this legislation will protect water infrastructure in our communities for generations to come,’ says State Sen. Jon Bumstead (R-North Muskegon).

The plan also includes more than $200 mililion to rehab state and local parks as well as trails, including in Grand Rapids.

$55 million is set to fund the Grand River Greenway project, a nearly 40-mile-long trail that will connect Grand Rapids to Grand Haven along the Grand River.

See more: Grand River Greenway

“This means we will rapidly accelerate our vision to reconnect, redevelop and activate our river corridor along the Grand River. I’m thrilled to bring these investments home to help realize our decades-long vision for the river, in addition to meeting other immediate housing and infrastructure needs,” says State Rep. Rachel Hood (D-Grand Rapids).

$40 million will head to the southern part of Kent County for a project that will widen M-37 between 76th street and 92nd.

$1.1 million will go towards tearing down the old Deerfield Correctional Facility in Ionia, which has sat vacant for over a decade. The money will also pay for cleanup and prep the area for redevelopment.

“The M-37 project is important for anyone driving to and from Grand Rapids. The Grand River Greenway project makes our area a better place to live and visit. The Deerfield site has potential to be redeveloped into something special. These are the types of projects that will benefit our children, grandchildren and their families for years to come,” says State Rep. Thomas Albert (R-Lowell)

The plan passed both chambers Thursday and is expected to be signed by the governor this week.

“This legislation delivers on so many levels for the people of my district and really the whole state of Michigan who have been so resilient in the face of so much uncertainty and upheaval," say State Sen. Winnie Brinks (D-Grand Rapids).