Final riverfront design to be shown
By Ryan Lewis
The “Big Reveal” for Allegan’s downtown riverfront redesign will be Tuesday. June 18, at 7 p.m. at Griswold Auditorium, 401 Hubbard St.
Through a state-funded program, the city has solicited comments and ideas from area citizens re-imagining the riverfront area including the city’s existing boardwalk, the Second Street bridge and the M-89 bridge.
Allegan was one of five cities statewide to gain the help of a program called PlacePlans, which brings together expertise from the Michigan State Housing Development Authority, the Michigan Municipal League and Michigan State University’s School of Planning, Design and Construction.
Community meetings gathering hundreds of participants began last December and continued through April.
The June 18 presentation will be the program’s last and will unveil a final design.
At the program’s April 11 meeting, MSU outreach specialist Wayne Beyea described the objective of the redesign as creating a year-round “third place” in the community.
“This would be the place residents leisurely stroll to, the place they go besides work and home,” Beyea said.
To that end, designs have included features that use the same space for different purposes as seasons change, such as a portion of what is now parking area being turned into a splash pad for children in the summer and skating rink in the winter.
Previous iterations of the design also incorporate art into many spaces, a clock tower, a temporary stage for fair-weather performances, easy-access boat docks (for kayaks/canoes) and turn what is now a backwater area along the boardwalk into a wetland garden useful for classes to teach ecology.
All of these would contribute to form what the MSU team termed “the big wow” factor.
All of that was in addition to ensuring the entire space would be traversable, with walkways added around the entire periphery of the area, including next to M-89.
At the June 18 meeting, the team will offer suggestions for funding the project within the next three to five years.
City manager Rob Hillard said guests at the meeting will also be treated to a volunteer fair.
“We will be having a mini-volunteer fair after the meeting in the Marilla Griswold Lounge, to introduce service groups who contribute to the community, and also to discuss the implementation of the project,” he said.
The fair is free to vendors and guests alike.
Hillard has invited service groups to contact him if they would like to participate or for more details at (269) 217-7866 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
“If you want to hear more about the enthusiasm regarding the project, we invite you to go to the www.positivelyallegan.org website, and listen to an interview on the Prosperity Agenda, conducted by WJR—Detroit Radio, about Allegan’s citizen response to the project,” Hillard said. “The project is being chatted about statewide, and it is all because of you.
“The community turnout has been fantastic and has reaffirmed the love of the riverfront.”
Contact Ryan Lewis at email@example.com or (269) 673-5534.