Grand Haven to invest $700K from state for trees, streetscapes to raise downtown's profile

Grand Haven's business leaders say too many people think the strip of businesses along US-31 make up the entire shopping and dining opportunities in town. But businesses in the traditional downtown area of this busy summer hotspot have an idea that could change all that.

Grand Haven was one of nine Michigan communities to receive part of a nearly $4.5 million Downtown Infrastructure Grant pot from the Michigan Economic Development Corporation's Michigan Strategic Fund.

The grant of $711,449, plus matching local funds of nearly $250,000, puts about $1 million in the city's hands for this project.

"I've heard the comment that some people think US-31 is the downtown," says Assistant City Manager Sam Janson. "We need to let people know where our business districts in the city are. (The planned improvements) will help visibly identify our community to those who are passing through. The goal is for people to want to stop here and spend some time here. And it will help us attract people who are interested in developing or opening a business."

The project will run along Washington St. from Beacon Boulevard (US-31) west to the railroad tracks. One of the most important aspects of the project is to create visible, inviting gateways that direct people to the downtown business district. Janson says the design and placement locations have not been decided.

Streetscape improvements will include planting 30 trees, new light poles, sidewalks, and benches, plus a Harbor Transit bus stop. Underground work will add new utilities and water lines, plus stormwater catch basins that will allow the sandy ground to absorb the stormwater rather than sending it into Lake Michigan.

Engineering services: FTC&H
Landscape design and services: Johnson Hill Land Ethics Studio

Source: Sam Janson, City of Grand Haven
Writer: Deborah Johnson Wood, Development News Editor
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