Grand Haven receives $1.5M grant for Riverwatch project

A nearly $1.5 million grant will help the city of Grand Haven improve views of the Grand River from Harbor Drive. 

The Michigan Economic Development Corp. recently announced a round of grants to Michigan communities, including nearly $1.5 million for Grand Haven’s proposed Project Riverwatch. 

Grant requests that received approval include projects that will provide investments in Michigan’s manufacturing industry and extend MEDC’s commitment to supporting companies and communities of all sizes across the state.

The projects are expected to generate $45.8 million in total investment and support the creation of 761 jobs in Michigan, according to the MEDC, the state’s chief marketing and business attraction agency, responsible for enabling long-term economic opportunity for all Michiganders.

“Today’s Michigan Strategic Fund actions will fuel new economic activity in key industries across Michigan, strengthening our communities and creating good jobs for our residents,” MEDC CEO Jeff Mason said. “These business and community development projects are designed to enable long-term economic opportunities for Michiganders across the state.”

The city of Grand Haven was awarded $1,474,983 in Community Development Block Grant funds for public facilities improvements that are needed for the Project Riverwatch project in its downtown. The project will enhance critically underutilized public space that currently contains limited access to the waterfront, including narrow sidewalks that cause pedestrian congestion along Harbor Drive, and difficult ADA accessibility. The project will create a safe, reliable and engaging environment for the citizens and visitors to enjoy by creating new greenspace, constructing a new public overlook deck, widening the sidewalk and creating ADA accessible pathways to the waterfront.

The city will be contributing matching funds of $163,887 toward the project. The city is a certified Redevelopment Ready Community as well as a Master Level Community in the Michigan Main Street Program, and has identified Project River Watch as a priority project.

“Connecting all populations to the waterfront, regardless of income level or ability, is a worthy goal,” City Manager Pat McGinnis said. “The Riverwatch program will expand access to the Grand River boardwalk for all to enjoy. Grand Haven’s waterfront is a valued Michigan resource, and the funding from MEDC will supplement more than $9 million in public investment over the past three years along the banks of the Grand River.”

Other projects receiving support include Wayfair LLC’s plans to establish a customer support center in Meridian Township, near Lansing, that will allow the company to diversify its geographical coverage for customers throughout North America. The facility will house customer service representatives, support functions and management. The project is expected to generate a total private investment of up to $8.9 million and create 503 jobs.

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