6.4.13 … Grand Rapids: Get the dam thing right! …

Grand Rapids MI, Urban Rivers Restoration Initiative, WSJ.com:  Been there once … nice enough place.  I’ve liked everyone I ever met from there … 100 + years is a long time.

The fast-moving water that inspired this city’s name disappeared more than a century ago.

Now, a group of white-water enthusiasts, environmental engineers and civic leaders are attempting to turn back time and put the frothy rapids back into the Grand River.

Federal agencies were cleared last month to work together on the project after the Environmental Protection Agency named it as one of 11 new sites for the Urban Rivers Restoration Initiative. Other projects receiving this federal designation include the Green-Duwamish River in Seattle and the Passaic River in Newark, N.J.

Grand Rapids’ efforts are part of a larger national push to attempt to rescue urban waterways long abused and neglected, especially by cities in the industrial Midwest. Advocates in Minneapolis-St. Paul have floated a similar rapids idea for their stretch of the Mississippi River.

“One of our mottos is get the dam thing right,” said Steve Heintzelman, a local realtor who co-founded Grand River Future Vision, a group of fishing enthusiasts who initially opposed the plan. His colleague, bait-shop owner Josh Smith, proposed modifying the current dam to aid the rapids project but keep the lamprey barrier. The group first organized a boycott of the project but have since softened their opposition in the hopes of finding a compromise that doesn’t threaten fishing.

via Real Rapids in Grand Rapids? – WSJ.com.

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