Bring the Rapids Back to Grand Rapids

I received this note from Karl Geisel of GRASP earlier today. I think the idea of having a white water play spot in GR is infinitely appealing.

Hello River Enthusiasts!

As the new year is upon us and the snow is flying, what a perfect time to think about paddling!

The Green Grand Rapids project has been engaging citizens in an update of the City’s Master Plan and Parks and Recreation Plan. Instead of passing a short bureaucratic resolution to update the plans, the City of Grand Rapids Planning Department and Parks and Recreation Department viewed this as an opportunity to initiate a citywide green infrastructure master planning process called Green Grand Rapids, focusing on quality of life and the physical development of community infrastructure as it relates to greening, connectivity, natural systems, the Grand River, recreation, and local food and active lifestyles.

A Special Study is being undertaken as part of Green Grand Rapids to explore opportunities to enhance the recreational use of the Grand River, through the addition of boating access sites, creation of a kayak course, and improvements to fisheries.

The process began with a small focus group gathered in October to discuss possibilities and review how other cities have embraced their water resources. The topic was discussed in more detail at the Green Gathering #2 held October 22, 2008, at Alger Middle School. From these meetings and discussions with City staff, the potential of a kayak course on the Grand River has been narrowed to four choices:

1. Enhance the small, beautification dams downstream of the 4th Street dam to increase the rapids experience and enjoyment of the river, and construct an easily accessible and safe portage around the 4th Street dam.

2. Construct a manmade kayak course, parallel to the river, through Sixth Street Park on the east side or at the location of the Fish Ladder on the west side.

3. Modify the 4th Street dam by partially removing a center or side section of the dam, to funnel the flow and create a challenging kayaking course for experienced and recreational paddlers.

4. Completely remove the 4th Street dam and construct rapids at various challenge levels to allow a complete river run through the Grand Rapids area with no portages required.

Attached are files that include more details of these choices with some examples from other areas and a preliminary assessment of costs and benefits of the choices.

We are asking you to review this information and write down your comments in preparation of the next meeting, scheduled for Wednesday, January 14, 2009, in the evening, exact time and location to be determined. You may email or fax your comments to me at the email and number below before Monday, January 12, if you would like your revisions to be considered before the meeting, or bring your comments to the meeting for discussion.

A meeting reminder will be sent out after the first of the year with specifics. Please pass this email along to others whom you think might be interested and contact me at any time if you have questions.

Below are additional links for more information about the Green Grand Rapids project.
Green Grand Rapids Website: