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Environmental agency taking public comments on proposed river restoration in Grand Rapids

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Grand Rapids Whitewater
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https://miwaters.deq.state.mi.us/ncore/external/publicnotice/info/-2566224763378486286/documents
A plan for one stretch of the river as part of the Grand Rapids Whitewater projected submitted to state regulators.

Another big step is underway in the multi-year effort to bring the rapids back to the Grand River in Grand Rapids.

It’s been more than a decade since Chris Muller and Chip Richards, two Grand Rapids residents, first pitched the city on the idea of restoring the rapids downtown.

Grand Rapids Whitewater, a non-profit, formed around the idea. Millions of dollars are being raised to fund the project

And now, the state Department of Environment Great Lakes and Energy (EGLE) is ready to hear from the public.

‘We are very hopeful that they will determine at the end of the day that this is a permittable project,” said Steve Heacock, President and CEO of Grand Rapids Whitewater. “Because we believe we’ve met every facet of the law that’s required to be met.”

Heacock said EGLE is just one of seven regulatory agencies that have a say on the project

“But the EGLE permit is really primary,” he said. “Because it is the one that either gives us the right to, or denies us the right to do the work within the river.”

People can submit their comments on the project on EGLE’s website here.

EGLE is also hosting a virtual public information session at 6 p.m. on September 29. Those who want to attend can register online here.

If all goes well, Heacock says construction on the first phase of the project could begin as soon as next summer.

Dustin Dwyer reports enterprise and long-form stories from Michigan Radio’s West Michigan bureau. He was a fellow in the class of 2018 at the Nieman Foundation for Journalism at Harvard. He’s been with Michigan Radio since 2004, when he started as an intern in the newsroom.
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